Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
It's not as easy as wriggling out of our current hides and into something a little more comfortable, as if we were performing a more extensive after hours, pre-first-drink-of-the-evening, getting out of our noose and suit, or slip and high heels, for something that hangs loosely upon our limbs. It sure would be nice to know that we were going to get a new chance to be someone a little different (is that the way that snakes feel when this happens - like they're getting a new lease on life?) when our eyes start clouding and glazing over because the skins loosening from its glue. It would be a celebratory moment when we'd be walking around and our legs or ears would start to rattle, flap or we'd hear a memorable whistling sound streaming out from the coat of skin we were about ready to do away with. During the middle parts of the title track from the Kingston, Pennsylvania group's latest album, "Shed," Title Fight's lead singer, Ned Russin, keeps telling us to crawl out of our skins. It's seen as some kind of a clean break, as if that's going to make most everything alright again. It's going to change things. He wails for us to do this. He wails for himself to do the same. It's what needs to happen to get to somewhere different. He's as sick of everything as we are, just fed up and flailing. Russin, guitarists Jamie Rhoden and Shane Moran, and drummer Ben Russin make it sound like life is a rusty nail and we find ourselves puncturing ourselves on it again and again. It's the one thing that we were always warned about as kids, climbing around in old barns: to watch out for rusty nails because if we got stuck, it was off to the hospital to get our tetanus shots. It was nothing that we wanted and on Title Fight records, the battles are always there - trying to stay away from stepping on those nails or in a big pile. There's a raging disagreement taking place and there doesn't seem to be any way to quell it. The guitars are like knives sharpening and then chugging or chopping. The drums are insistent and forceful. It's music that feels like a cathartic whipping, as if you've finally made a hard choice and you're running away from something that you've known, with the cold streams of tears sliding down your cheeks. Ned Russin sounds as if he's lost his head and his heart a few times in his life. He sounds as if he's gone crazy and partially recovered a few dozen times. He sings on "27," "My father said, 'Don't be so scared,'" but the thought's mostly funny. There are always things to be scared about. It's unavoidable. We can keep this skin or move on to the next, but it's still skin, susceptible all the same to the words, the bullets, the knives and the ugliness.
Title Fight Official Site