On Going Grey, their second release for the Warner-distributed Fueled by Ramen label, New Jersey weirdos the Front Bottoms exhibit mild signs of growing up. From their roots as a chaotic lo-fi acoustic punk act to charting high on Billboard's Top 200 with 2015's more polished Back on Top, Brian Sella and Matthew Uychich have come a long way with their strange and spazzy brand of indie pop. While Sella's stream of consciousness confessional vocal rants have been somewhat tamed since his early days, the added structure provides a welcome framework as the band continues to evolve into its next phase. As with their previous release, Going Grey melds a pop punk melodicism with a bit of '90s indie slackery, adding a bit more pop nuance this time around in the form of some clever synth parts and nice harmonies tucked neatly in the mix. The Front Bottoms have proven their boundless energy many times over, but some of the album's more midtempo rockers stand out as creative high points like "Bae," "Grand Finale," and "Everyone But You." While they're not quite low-key offerings, a little restraint here and there does this band some good and shines a light on their abundance of strong melodies. As its title suggests, Going Grey is rife with themes of nostalgia and the passage of time, from the wistful "Vacation Town" to the warm, '80s-inflected reflections of "Trampoline." More tonally diverse and thoughtfully arranged than the Bottoms' previous output, Going Grey is still wily enough to please longtime fans while adding new layers to their sound.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger