Pennsylvania punk rockers Title Fight have always had a reputation for taking punk music seriously, meaning that each track they have released was anything but simple. It was aggressive and tenacious, with a lead foot on the gas pedal. However, in their upcoming album Hyperview, things get remarkably slower and more fantastical, with a small emphasis on the attributes of water and the feelings of being submerged. The punk components are still there, although not quite as potent, allowing a wider range of listeners to become enchanted with the band, something that I am glad to say turned me over to their music. Opener “Murder Your Memory” lets you know right off the bat that this hushed, muted overtone takes over quite a bit of the time, allowing for that change to seep through. “Your Pain Is Mine Now” explores that hazy, almost dream pop style more with the brief entrance of grooves and waves, also showcasing more of lead singer Jamie Rhoden and his gorgeously haunting voice. The best part of that track is when the electronic synth kicks in around the end, and the supersonic nature of it moves in and out, almost giving off the feelings of being submerged over and over again. However, there is the more upbeat, classic punk style rock in this album as well, although, again, in a more palatable way. The raw, unhinged track “Hypernight” and especially the absolute stunner “Rose of Sharon” evoke the same energy Title Fight understood in their past two albums, and the pure acidity and metallic tasting instrumentals are what makes them powerful. “Dizzy” and “Liar’s Love” are filled with sunshine, so much so in fact that I can’t help comparing them to tracks by Wild Nothing, another artist that is fantastically skilled at creating these hazy, gauzy, and magical sounds. And of course, the heaviest, most complex track is stunner “Rose of Sharon,” which does a remarkable task of bringing together the feelings of hard and soft, which creates a tension almost beautifully unrecognizable. Hyperview does a fantastic job of balancing out their aggressive, punk-inspired tracks from their softer, more delicate ones, and it’s what makes this album remarkable. In fact, the absolute best track of the album is “Chlorine”, the one that takes the fervid, clashing instrumentals of Title Fight’s own guidebook and intertwines it with these absolutely gorgeous vocals that seem to be the driving force. It glimmers and shimmers, despite its ongoing battle with guitars that drone on and drums that seem to ignite with every pound. It’s an absolute masterpiece, and stands apart from the rest of the album for sure.
Title Fight did hint at change for their third album, and that change is more than apparent. It shows an evolution and a maturation of character and taste, and sometimes it’s this risk that propels a band even further. I can see why some might give this album a low scoring because it’s not the same as they once liked it to be, and that’s highly understandable. However, as a new fan of the band and someone who has listened to their last two albums briefly, I feel that this change was just a way to explore newer interests. Don’t be alarmed though. Title Fight is still a punk band, albeit one that isn’t afraid to dive headfirst into unknown waters.
Hyperview will be released on February 3rd.