In 2015, Jersey City’s public housing project Montgomery Gardens was demolished for redevelopment. Reflecting on the building’s demise, The Front Bottoms‘ lyrics on their new single, “montgomery forever,’ take on even greater meaning, one of the current times and how everything can just fall apart in a glance. The track is off the band’s upcoming album, In Sickness & In Flames, due out August 21 on Fueled By Ramen.
Written prior to the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, “montgomery forever” reflects a greater sign of the moment, of unrest and the sense that everything is crumbling around us through its alt-rock rhythms and effortlessly pragmatic storytelling, all building off an anthemic chant of “Montgomery forever / Now they’re blowing it up.”
Visually, the song’s video, produced by longtime collaborator Mark Jaworski, perfectly illustrates the desolate lyrics in fiery (literally, there’s a house burning) imagery and water-dropped opalescent color screens overlapping the clouded visions of the duo (vocalist/guitarist Brian Sella and drummer Mat Uychich).
“We spent a lot of the last year reflecting,” said The Front Bottoms. “There was a lot to think about, a lot to stress about, and a lot to be happy about. We retreated for a while, learned some stuff, then came back and learned some more. You definitely learn more when you’re around the people you love and the people you care about.”
Roused by the recent protests, the band released ukulele versions of the album’s singles “camouflage” and “everyone blooms” on Bandcamp, and raised nearly $4,000—with an an additional contribution from Fueled By Ramen for a total of $10,000—in support of The Center for Cultural Power, a non-profit organization led by black female artists that supports individuals through fellowships, training, and other opportunities for growth in their art.
In a post to their fans on Twitter the band said: “Through the power of art, we have a responsibility to do our part to help make the world a better place for everyone, especially those who identify as BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of color).”
Produced by Mike Sapone (Public Enemy, Cymbals Eat Guitars), In Sickness & In Flames is the band’s follow up to 2017’s Going Grey, and Ann (2018), named after Sella’s grandmother, a six-song extension of the previous album of never-released tracks.
Following the band’s spring tour cancellation with Jimmy Eat World, they set up shop on Twitch broadcasting short films and live performances. As they pulled together In Sickness & In Flames, the album literally took on a new life and meaning of its own.
“When we were writing the album and settling on the title, it meant something completely different to us. We could have never imagined where the world would be just six months later. In true TFB style this album has developed into something of its own that we no longer control the narrative of.”