A dozen years since the band’s formation, Title Fight have just released their third studio album, Hyperview. From the first listen it is clear that the Pennsylvanian punk rockers have taken this album in a different direction, turning away from their hardcore origins to develop an atmospheric approach which has drawn many comparisons to late 80s shoegaze. At just over thirty minutes long, the record is only brief, yet to those familiar with Title Fight’s discography it is an impressive demonstration of the band’s evolution. And to those who are new to the band, Hyperview is still extremely listenable.
Beginning with a gentle and repetitious opener, Murder Your Memory, this track introduces one of the main highlights of the album, singer Jamie Rhoden’s greatly muted vocals. This vocal delivery is highly evocative of shoegaze, taking value away from the lyrical content and instead shifting the focus towards the entire musical soundscape – the vocals being only one element of the total cohesive sound.
The following track, Chlorine, is slightly rockier. Forming the main single off the album, the vocals in Chlorine are delivered with much more conviction, but still are only loosely focused on the lyrics. This pattern continues throughout the record with tracks like the Sonic Youth-esque Mrahc and the heavier Trace Me Onto You keeping the pace upbeat and effectively mediating between Title Fight’s new and old sounds.
In a considered move, the fast-paced and rocky Mrahc is contrasted by the following, Your Pain Is Mine Now. Fitting to a laid-back surf atmosphere, Your Pain Is Mine Now is a melancholic standout. The more discernible lyrics are moving in their melancholy and sensitively paired with an echoey guitar loop that makes for a psychedelic album highlight.
Your Pain Is Mine Now is then followed by another of the new album’s standout tunes. Being the only track on Hyperview to feature bassist Ned Russian’s hoarsely shouted vocals, Rose Of Sharon gives a brief nod back to Title Fight’s punk-rock roots, but is sure to please both long-time fans and newer listeners.
With a tight cohesiveness running throughout the album, Title Fight once again prove themselves worthy of attention. The considered layering of guitar distortion, tricksy percussion and delicate, melodic vocals make for an easy first listen, and with time the album’s subtleties make themselves even more clear. The result is a compilation of complex soundscapes that makes for an inspired listen.