A Change of Sound: A Review of Title Fight's Hyperview
This Kingston-based four-piece has prominently been known to immerse themselves in the post-hardcore and punk scheme; I first got into Title Fight when they were on their Run for Cover days, and it’s somehow whimsically enthralling to discern vehemently significant changes of their sounds on Hyperview—this album is distinctively influenced by shoegaze, dream-pop, and post-punk elements with their intense use of reverb and chorus pedals, and would remind you of the likes of Slowdive, Teenage Fanclub, and Whirr in a blink of an eye. It’s not easy to embrace change and get out of one's comfort zone; indeed, the overall review outcomes of this third release of theirs, although generally positive, didn’t end up being as positive as their two previous ones, since listeners who are already accustomed to them being all hardcore punk might find it hard to adjust with the changes they implemented in this album. Signing up to ANTI- was a rather surprising thing for them to do according to me; that sister label of Epitaph happens to be a label where the majority of artists are in the reggae/hip-hop/country/soul scene; definitely not the kind of circle that Title Fight would likely get involved in (the closest thing to Title Fight you could find in the ANTI- artists list is Deafheaven)—but, then again we don’t evolve if we don’t experience changes. That’s what artists do; when they are audacious enough to hold on to their idealistic stances and embrace change, it implies that they have evolved and I personally am fond of artists who are capable of being open-minded enough to present different sounds and genres from one album to another.
The opening track, "Murder Your Memory", comes off with tranquil vibes that would subconsciously bring you into some sort of a cathartic dreamscape, and the ethereally presented shoegaze and dream-pop influences happen to be rather intense in songs like this one, "Your Pain is Me Now", "Liar’s Love", and "Dizzy"—I wonder if it is just me but I somehow sense imperceptible fragments of Neil Halstead and Kevin Shields on the vocals that Jamie Rhoden and Ned Russin present. On the other hand, we have songs like "Mrahc", "Rose of Sharon", "Chlorine", "Trace Me Onto You", and "Hypernight" that happen to be more upbeat, with the anthemic distortions of the guitars that make the vocals rather indistinct—by the looks of it, they still manage to retain their ignition of punk vibes in songs like these, and it’s amazing how they converge both vibes of their old and new sounds. "Rose of Sharon" and "New Vision" are my personal favorite tracks of the album; the distorted, lo-fi vocals on "Rose of Sharon" happen to be something new I could get from them but I ended up liking it big-time. "New Vision" happens to be an impeccable killer closing track; this song comes off strong and fragile at the same time, and I personally am fond of the lyrics; the lyrics are short but they have some intricate meanings—the track (and the album) closes with such pulchritudinous words being sung; “tranquil rest / peace in death / sewn your own faint dream / followed unconditionally”.
No matter how much they have changed, Title Fight never ceases to amaze me and I deeply cherish their audacity and open-mindedness to show the world they aren’t afraid to alter ways. This changing sound with Title Fight reminds me of Cave In some time ago; Cave In’s post-hardcore era on mid-90s was their formidable zenith (and I do think so too, I admit that I like "Until Your Heart Stops" best compared to their other albums), and when they started to get into alternative rock, people’s reactions were rather negative to the fact that changes are, indeed, hard to accept—but sometimes we ought to discern all these things from a new perspective and embrace that it's every artist’s right to change their musical styles; and it applies to this album too. End of disruption; Hyperview rocks big time.