Let’s just lay the cards on the table, shall we? Hyperview, the 3rd full length by Kingston, PA’s very own Title Fight is conceivably nothing you could have expected the band to release. In recent years, TF has gained a fully deserved critical and popular recognition, which probably also offered them a certain sense of freedom and confidence to pursue their own artistic journey. This new release, the first on ANTI-Records, sounds pretty much like a fresh start for the quartet as they decided to stand out from their trademark sound and come back with something different. Be ready and open-minded because Hyperview is a more grown up, more melancholic and more confusing work than anything they’ve released before.
This sudden turnover which will unquestionably confuse and divide the fans, should in fact not really be considered as a surprise. In recent years, the band disseminated a few hints about their new musical orientation, somehow already perceptible on a few songs from their critically acclaimed Floral Green or their latest Spring Songs EP. They’ve been moving towards something new since their popularity burst out and their sound gradually got rid of the melodic hardcore influences. Moving beyond their roots seems to be the band’s main goal and as we go through this collection of new tracks, it feels like they did it quite right.
Hyperview is actually a record that completely tends towards a postpunk-emo-indie-shoegaze vibe, whatever you like to call it. The record opens with ‘Murder Your Memory’, a slow and woozy introduction that really strikes with its sensitivity. Not unforgettable but still, the transition with the first single ‘Chlorine’ is quite interesting. The distinctly mixed vocals and repetitive riff stick in your head for a while. ‘Hypernight’, with its slow breezy bass-driven rhythm, could remind what Seahaven did with their Reverie Lagoon album. As we follow our immersion, echoing voices and swirling guitars reinforce the overall hazy feel.
The pacing of the record is clearly lighter than their previous works but everything’s not completely altered yet. Songs such as ‘MRAHC’, ‘Rose Of Sharon’ or ‘Trace Me Onto You’ are good illustrations of this new direction and honestly, it’s pretty good to hear that Title Fight can still deliver more straightforward tunes. Another obvious change is the (almost) absence of Ned Russin’s throaty vocals, which have nearly disappeared in favor of Jamie’s reverberating vocals.
There has been a sudden and undeniable revival of this fuzzy sound lately, with recent excellent bands popping-up such as Nothing, Whirr or Newmoon, but the Title Fight’s approach on this record seems much more sincere and personal than simply wanting to sound trendy. Still, when they used to alternate their high-energy, fast-paced tunes with more atmospheric mid-tempo songs, the balance was right. Hyperview however can be frustrating by its monotony (‘Your Pain Is Mine Now’, ‘Liar’s Love’), a general sleepy mood and a shortage of abrasiveness. Those weaknesses will certainly dissatisfy some die-hard fans and make them think there’s a lack of personality resulting from this new musical departure.
Nevertheless, Hyperview has ups and down but its still miles away from being a bad record. As we step back and look at the overall picture, it reveals itself in the little details, the eerie and hypnotic sound (thanks to producer Will Yip, also the guy behind the latest Pianos Become The Teeth album, just saying…) and the spontaneity that is reminiscent of Title Fight’s youthful years. It is clearly a record that deserves more than a single listen. Even if it resonates differently than their early material, Title Fight has crafted their own sound no matter what and this change of pace certainly didn’t alter their songwriting.
Furthermore, such an important and unexpected risk-taking should be saluted: the band delivers another puzzling, mesmerizing and fairly enjoyable record. No matter what kind of disapproval they’ll get, Title Fight remains a fascinating band and follows their own singular ride. As they recently stated themselves in an interview, “We always end up going with our gut”…
Hyperview was released on ANTI- Records on February 3rd and Title Fight will be back on European shores in a few months, including a highly anticipated performance at Groezrock.
Track list – Hyperview:
1. Murder Your Memory
5. Your Pain Is Mine Now
6. Rose of Sharon
7. Trace Me Onto You
8. Liar’s Love
10. New Vision