Title Fight – Hyperview

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews

Title Fight

Hyperview - ANTI-

There’s an argument that Kingston, Pennsylvania’s Title Fight tends to reinvent themselves for each subsequent album.   Their debut full length, Shed, fit in best with the melodic hardcore-punk scene circa Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike.  Floral Green started taking things even more seriously and got more emotionally in tune, drawing richer comparisons with Jawbreaker.  Now, on to their third full length, Hyperview, Title Fight has made their strongest deviation from their norm, undertaking a new turn as an understated indie new-wave/shoegaze experiment.  

Like with previous stylistic shifts, Title Fight makes this move with confidence.  For those that make Hyperview their introduction, the hazy, sleepy atmosphere will feel like the product of a band that’s been playing this style for years; for those familiar with their prior discography, it will feel like an entirely new band.  Title Fight builds Hyperview around a core of homogenized, dreamy vocal patterns that feel like a sleepier amalgamation of The Lodger’s crispness and Half String’s moans.  The overall effect compares to that of a very low and dim lit bulb flickering and fading as its filament slowly loses conductivity – in effect, Hyperview is best experienced with headphones.  Tracks like “Trace Me On To You” and “Dizzy” pace Jamie Rhoden’s sullen moans with jangly, distorted guitar chords.  The asymmetric effect is just shy of off putting, but ends up feeling mostly natural.  The echoic nature makes for an artistic, albeit somewhat sleepy experience that really only jumps to life for a few early-album spikes.  “Rose Of Sharon’s” throaty screams serve as the lone reminder of Title Fight’s previous incarnations, and “Mrach” marks Hyperview’s steadiest, most aggressive tempo.

If a single drawback prevents Title Fight from realizing their full vision, Rhoden’s murky vocals make for an easy target.  For a lead that has previously relied heavily on his throat, his change to more subtle output showcases adept talent.  But with a the combination of a low tone and tepid volume, many of the lyrics come across more as a mumble, masking many of the interesting thoughts within.  While it’s new territory for Rhoden, Title Fight has a colourful career from which to draw upon, and need not worry about jeopardizing their rebirth by more readily integrating elements of their past successes.  It’s surprising that long time producer Will Yip let this slide.

With Hyperview, a good chunk of the Title Fight faithful will likely exit at this stop only to have their seats enthusiastically filled by droves of the Pitchfork crowd.  But for what will likely be known as the biggest sonic leap in the band’s career, Title Fight is believable in their new identity as a loose indie/shoegaze act.  Hyperview may not be as strongly identifiable as Title Fight‘s past work, but the quartet is clearly heading in the right direction to reach an equivalent stature on their new turf.