The Front Bottoms’ new record “Going Grey” is out Oct. 13, but don’t expect front man Brian Sella to be listening to it.
“I’m just not interested (in playing my music),” the singer told the Daily News with a laugh. “Honestly, I usually dip out halfway through the mixing process. I didn’t really realize it was crazy, but everybody that I talk to is like, ‘That’s pretty nuts.’”
While Sella might not be tuning in come Friday, the New Jersey-based band’s fervent fan base certainly will — and they can expect to hear a whole lot of growing up.
Back in 2011 on the breakout hit “Maps,” Sella sang: “One day you’ll be washing yourself with hand soap in a public bathroom/And you’ll be thinking, how did I get here? Where the hell am I?”
If anything, “Going Grey” is the album that finds the 29-year-old having arrived at that elusive “one day.”
As the album’s title suggests, this isn’t the Front Bottoms of your youth — or theirs, either.
No, this is an older and wiser Front Bottoms; a band acutely aware of the fact that not only is time ticking, but, as Sella sings on the opening track, “Holy f–k, I’m about to die.”
“It’s just basically about that vibe of getting older and (there’s) nothing you can really do about it,” he told the News. “I’m getting older, and everybody around is getting older. At this point I’m in my late 20s, so it’s like, alright, people are kind of starting to break off and trying to do their own thing and live their own lives.”
If there’s one thing that’s remained the same about the band known for its niche brand of off-kilter pop-punk, it’s that its Jersey roots are as strong as ever.
The video for lead single “Raining” — a pop number with a jaunty guitar that would sound right at home on the soundtrack of an indie movie — was shot in Asbury Park, and Sella says the record’s multiple shore references reflect the idea that the relentless tour life of a musician is a sort of permanent vacation.
“It’s like, ‘Oh, I’m going on tour again, I’m going back on vacation. All my friends have to go work and that sort of survivor’s guilt of that permanent vacation – like, is it really a permanent vacation if it’s permanent?” he said.
“Going Grey” is the Front Bottoms’ second album since making the jump to major label Fueled by Ramen.
The resulting sound, starting with 2015’s “Back on Top” and continuing with “Going Grey,” has been more put together and polished than the band’s charmingly gritty first albums.
Though fans were initially afraid the Front Bottoms’ confessional style and angsty organized chaos could potentially be watered down in the move, Sella explains that sonic development is crucial not only for the band, but for his own sake as well.
“When I started, I was 18 years old, and I wrote ‘Twelve Feet Deep’ about going to college and stuff,” he said. “I’m 29 years old right now. So if I’m going to have any form of self-respect and self-dignity. I have to push it, and take it to the next level.”
And so far, so good. “Going Grey” is the most sonically diverse effort yet, from the ‘80s synth beats on “Trampoline” to the island vibes of “Don’t Fill Up on Chips.”
On Nov. 25, the Front Bottoms will take their “Going Grey” tour to Terminal 5, a venue Sella fondly remembers as a place his uncle took him when he was a kid.
“Going Grey” is out Oct. 13.