Floral Green Steals Past Your Dragons and Buries Them
Title Fight has changed the game for post-hardcore and pop-punk aggregates, and has done so with suspicious ease. Every album of theirs seemed so fluid and natural upon numerous listens, from their mastery of the pop-punk breakdown sound on compilation The Last Thing You Forget to their chugging hardcore flare on their debut record Shed. The new record, produced by Will Yip, is titled Floral Green and is nothing short of a shift in gears for the young Kingston quartet. Title Fight released the first song off of the record several months ago, titled “Head in the Ceiling Fan,” which without a doubt scared and excited their avid fan base. The song was so vastly different, but yet it felt familiar with Jamie Rhoden’s graphic lyrics and waning vocals echoing throughout what could only be time and space captured in song. The band hinted to fans that Floral Green was going to be a serious creative and production departure from their niche sound, and “Head in the Ceiling Fan” made any doubters sure that they were serious. Now, with the whole album debuted, that first song is actually more a of sonically standout track on a record that has no obvious thread like that of Shed.
Floral Green soars to a high energy start with “Numb, But I Still Feel It” and boy does this track kick. Title Fight has gone from very calculated riffing on Shed back to slamming viciously at ambient but still thick chords like they are back in the garage playing to only themselves, and not a massive audience anticipating their every move. This track, as described by Ned Russin to Spin, was very organic and just lyrically fell in its place. The music is heavy and the words hit like a train for anyone who lacks the genuine feelings of being free, “I talk, but no one listens, can’t make my own decisions.” Title Fight does what every punk band wants to do, make a statement and have people feel it their gut. Most bands fall short because of either a lack of something to say, or too thick a veil of imagery and vague symbolism. This band, varying often whether its Ned or Jamie on singing, is plain and straight forward expression of the most common emotions we all feel, but they make it feel fresh. That’s the gold in Floral green. “Leaf” continues this sincerity in a way that with any other band it would be nauseating, to describe yourself as “a single leaf, in the wind blowing.”
Ned has spoken about his difficulty in being open and honest in writing, and this song is evidence he’s conquering that insecurity. I can imagine on paper, writing about being a leaf in the wind felt silly, but the truth is that we all feel that way, but our instincts guard against art so convicting. C.S. Lewis described stories as things that are able to “sneak past our watchful dragons,” dragons being those mental self-defense’s we use as consumers of art and information to protect ourselves against what we find threatening or challenging. Absorption of lyrics is an area where so many listeners, writers and fans of music are reserved to the point of laughing off what is too shaming or revealing. Title Fight has stolen past all my dragons with the lyrics of Floral Green. Never again will I scoff at the idea of being a just another lonely sole as in “Leaf”, or just the simple admission that you’re a boring person as heard in “Sympathy”. “Like a Ritual” is the musical gem on the record, for me. The vibrant bass line and subtlety of the lead guitars leaves me craving what is being hidden in this song. Mentions of voices in the head and mundane daily repetition drew me in and floored with me the casual drum roll into an elevated chorus that has a harmony track so barely audible I scream it every time this song plays. Will Yip and Title Fight pull so many effects back on this record that I want to be louder and more in my face, but the fact that I can’t reach these intangible things make me love Floral Green even more. I yearn for the harmonies and guitar flourishes that are beyond my reach on a record rooted in ambience and ethereal detachment. Floral Green continues on with “Secret Society”, a raw and unbridled punk rock track that breaks the consistency of the record up to that point. It’s a fun song and is the perfect place to slide back into the void with “Head in the Ceiling Fan” and “Make You Cry”, a truly haunting song dealing with death that in its chorus fills me with a cold dread, like listening to a boys’ choir in a gothic cathedral (which I have done, and its chilling).
This review isn’t going to break down each song; Spin Magazine did that already with a great interview from Ned Russin. I more so aim to say that Title Fight has set a bar so high for aspiring musicians and their immediate colleagues in the ‘punk’ scene. The brutal honestly and gentle orchestration of Floral Green has changed so many fans top 5 records of 2012, and rocked the scene that nursed them to fame. Thanks to Title Fight, it’s once again okay to feel subhuman, afraid and unheard, when for song those spirits have been a kind lyrical taboo linked to the slandered genres of emotive punk rock in the past decade. Floral Green steals past my dragons, my friend’s dragons, the media’s dragons, and effectively buries them so deep they will likely never see light again.
Floral Green was released on September 18th, 2012 through Side One Dummy. It is still avaialble on all your favorite formats including colored vinyl through the link below.