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Young, scrappy punk band makes a handful of albums, begins incorporating an indie rock sound to their repertoire, gets critical and commercial recognition while somewhat alienating their original fanbase. By now, it's a tale as old as time, especially with bands from The Wave of post-hardcore like Pianos Become the Teeth and La Dispute sanding down their fangs with their respective 2014 albums. Pennsylvania's Title Fight were already well on their way to matching this description on 2012's Floral Green, and now Hyperview effectively erases any connection the band had to hardcore.

Whereas its predecessor offered an initial stylistic fake-out of sorts before unveiling the gorgeous, sedated 'Head in the Ceiling Fan', Hyperview lets you know immediately that ragged-throated lead vocals and three chord punk riffs only exist as sideshows here. Instead, the four-piece give us about a full album's worth of finely-tuned shoegaze. First rearing its head on Floral Green's back half, this sound is more fleshed out and full-bodied on Hyperview, with the band seeming like they're milking workhorse producer Will Yip for all he's worth on his third full-length with Title Fight. The guitars are rich, the bass is thick and warm, and the drumming's much tighter than it was on previous albums. Viewing a through-line between 2011's Shed and this album is nearly impossible, which is why it's fitting that the opening track is called 'Murder Your Memory'.

After that beauty of a midtempo jam, 'Chlorine' gives us the first aggressive guitar tone of the album, albeit using it for shoegaze purposes. In a way, the song recalls fellow band Pennsylvanian band Nothing, whose lineup also consists of ex-hardcore kids and recently worked with Yip on their excellent split EP with sonic kindred Whirr. Like Nothing, Title Fight seem to still appeal to a certain subset of punks, perhaps the ones who could see themselves stagediving at a Slowdive reunion concert.

Slowdive is also worth mentioning in connection to Hyperview because more so than the noisy sonics of My Bloody Valentine, the psychedelic jangle of Ride, or the arty latter day work of Cocteau Twins, that band's sweeping guitars and wide-angle sound gives Title Fight its connection to shoegaze on this album. Especially on tracks like the moon-eyed 'Your Pain Is Mine' (which premiered on Vogue's website, of all places), strains of the genre pioneers' 'Alison' and '40 Days' can be heard in the guitars, and somewhat surprisingly, this is the sound that Title Fight seem to wield with the most expertise on Hyperview. Oddly enough, it's the quicker numbers on the album that seem to bring out the band's autopilot function (save for the punkiest song on the album, the fiery 'Rose Of Sharon'), with 'MRAHC', 'Trace Me Onto You' and 'New Vision' all speeding by without making much of an impression. 'MRAHC' would have been a great 2011 Title Fight song, but with singer/guitarist Jamie Rhoden attempting a Morrissey-esque croon, it ends up sounding like something that Merchandise (another band of ex-punks) wisely left off their great, new wavey 2014 album.

So although Hyperview is certainly more of a complete transformation for the band than Floral Green, it still feels somewhat like a half-measure. The band's shoegaze chops seem to still be developing, with the sound and production definitely improving, but the songwriting still seeming like the work of punks who can't decide what to do with tracks that are more than 90 second bursts of emotive energy. The reverby haze that now surrounds Title Fight mostly works to their favor, but perhaps they could benefit from bringing some sharper elements out of the mix, or some new dishes to the shoegaze table.

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