Title Fight

The Last Thing You Forget

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The hardest part about reviewing The Last Thing You Forget is figuring out just what exactly the release is. The album is technically a three-song 7" from Pennsylvania's Title Fight -- but only in the vinyl form. As a CD, the track listing more than triples and becomes three releases in one, including not only a bonus new song in "Western Haikus" (it's unclear why the original EP couldn't just have four songs), but also tacking on everything the band had released prior to 2009: the Kingston EP from 2008 (tracks 4-6) and five tracks (7-11) from a 2007 split with another PA band, the Erection Kids. Once you get past the particulars, however, the songs themselves are much more straightforward and need little explanation to understand. The band's earliest stuff is straight out of the melodic hardcore handbook, owing much debt to East Coast bands like Lifetime, the Movielife, and early Saves the Day, so much so that listening to Title Fight can easily whip listeners back to when they were discovering those bands for the first time. Title Fight play fast and tough, never afraid to lay emotion on the table amid all the sweat and singalongs, yet always retaining that melodic edge, especially thanks to the engaging vocal dueling of guitarist Jamie Rhoden and bassist Ned Russin. You can hear the growth from the infectious, full-steam-ahead proclamations of "Evander" and "Youreyeah" to the brasher and even more urgent "Symmetry." Yet some of the newer songs seem to show the band with its eyes on mixing things up even more, as evidenced by "Introvert" and "No One Stays at the Top Forever," as the band cuts revved-up melodic blasts with slower rhythmic crawls where the focus lays more on throaty vocals. The tracks are an interesting development, and it's probably safe to assume it's a path they'll keep going down. For now, Title Fight seems freer and more comfortable in the poppier punk range -- growing pains that time will surely iron out. Their energy, though, keeps things interesting even if the sound is less than inventive, and the album as a whole shows great potential.

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