As It Is-Okay Album Review

UK Pop-Rockers, As It Is released their sophomore album on Jan. 20 and it takes everything they created with their debut with the addition of deeper lyrics, catchier instrumentals and more. Their debut, Never Happy Ever After created a sound that was fresh to the genre but at the same time something fans of pop rock would find difficult not to enjoy. Their second record, Okay, takes all this and improves upon it. Just by one listen it can be heard that As It Is took their time to create the best lyrics and instrumentals possible.

The album follows a theme of catchy, upbeat songs with somber lyrics. Without paying attention to the lyrics, a listener could assume the album follows happy themes, but that isn’t the case. There are deep topics that vocalist, Patty Walters, clearly had personal inspirations for. These inspirations make this album sound rawer and with more emotion than the previous.

The band formed in 2012 in Brighton, England and is made up of lead vocalist, Patty Walters, Benjamin Langford-Biss, guitar and vocals, Patrick Foley, drums, Andy Westhead, guitar, and Ali Testo, bass.

Okay begins with “Pretty Little Distance,” which instrumentally sounds like the As It Is fans know and love but with lyrics that create a whole new listening experience. It’s an upbeat and catchy pop punk song, instrumentally, with lyrics that describe what the album as a whole is about. It’s about how life throws twists and turns all the time and that bad things are always bound to happen. The lyrics, “Ain’t life swell from a pretty little distance?” implies that the way we live our lives there will always be tragedy and heartbreak.

“Until I Return” is a track that follows a similar formula as “Pretty Little Distance” does, because of how the lyrics are written. “I promise I’ll fight but I can’t promise I’ll be fine;” they explain that it’s okay not to be okay, which is another huge theme found across this record. These lyrics also explain the theme behind all the personal stories Walters is telling through each song. The fact that this track is towards the end shows contrast between the beginning with “Pretty Little Distance” and this one.

All the tracks on this record have some sort of personal experience that is written about, but there are two that stand out the most in what they are about. “Hey Rachel” and “Austen” are those two songs. “Hey Rachel” is written about Walters’ sister and how he could have been a better brother during a difficult time in her life. Meanwhile, “Austen” is a song written about Biss’s grandfather being hospitalized and his experience seeing him in that state.

Walters experimented with more topics on Okay such as relationships and being trapped within his own mind. “Patchwork Love” and “Still Remembering” discuss the topic of love, more specifically the end aspects of a relationship. In “Patchwork Love” Walters writes about a past relationship and how even though they aren’t together anymore he won’t forget or regret it and he asks her to do the same. “I won’t forget you, I won’t regret…All I ask, my one request/Don’t forget me, don’t regret me.”

“Still Remembering” is a bit different because it isn’t as clearly defined as “Patchwork Love” but the lyrics discuss a lot about endings. “When you left, not without warnings or regrets/Nothing would fill this hole in my chest/Bid your farewell…So my love, goodbye.” These lyrics make it the perfect way to end the record combined with the fact that it’s the most acoustic song. Instrumentally and lyrically, the album is being wrapped up with this track.

The topic of being mentally stuck was another idea that Walters struggled with because it made its way into some songs as well. “No Way Out” and “Soap” are two tracks that exemplify it perfectly. The lyrics in “No Way Out” explain this topic clearer than “Soap’s” but both still get the idea across in their own unique ways. In “No Way Out,” Walters experiments with some screaming vocals that work well with the song because it makes the lyrics stand out as more meaningful to him. “I shut my eyes, but my world’s still burning/I can’t escape, I feel it killing me/No way out.”

“Soap” is a bit different, not only in the fact that the lyrics are more cryptic than straightforward but because instrumentally, it is the most unique. The verses have a unique style in the way the vocals interact with the instrumentals. The vocals are mixed with a slight screaming to pair with the raw emotion created through Walters’ lyrics. “This will only take a lifetime/To bury me as deep as troubled is your mind/I’m sinking deeper into your head/I’m the lie you live in, every thought you dread.”

Every track on this record is wonderful and Okay is an album that doesn’t disappoint in any way. The instrumentals follow a pop punk sound, but have twists that make certain songs stand out and lyrics that are meaningful and personal in all of the best ways. This record is more than just a listening experience; it is an experience that makes the listener really think while still enjoying the upbeat pop punk tunes.

Rating: 9.5/10

You can stream the record here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpZL8cbLq4o&list=PLsBWlr67U5NsBbWZyypkhNmXzuJycASJr

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Music Recommendations-October 2016

I listen to a lot of music, this is nothing new. And I listen to a variety of rock/alternative artists so I figured that I would share with you all who I would recommend you listen to.

Catfish and the Bottlemen:

I have never been a huge fan of the indie/alternative side of rock music because I was never exposed to it. Then when I heard “Soundcheck” by them, I was hooked. I instantly looked up their debut, The Balcony, and after listening to it straight through I knew these guys were something special. After I listened to their newest record, The Ride, I wasn’t as big of a fan of it as I was with their debut, but it still has their flare to it. Songs like “Soundcheck” and “Oxygen” are some of my favorites.

Recommended Songs: “Cocoon,” “Hourglass,” “26,” “Soundcheck” and “Oxygen.”

This Wild Life:

I discovered this acoustic duo last year and loved their debut record, Clouded. Now, their second album, Low Tides, was released last month and I finally got around to listening to it. And I am so glad that I did. This record is the perfect mix of pure acoustic to some “harder” songs with some great quality lyrics. Kevin’s inspiration for this record is clear in some songs but harder to pick out in others. That’s what makes it so great, it’s simple but complex at the same time. This is a must listen record for 2016.

Recommended Songs: “Hit the Reset,” “Brick Wall,” “Pull Me Out” and “Red Room.”

Forever Ends Here:

This is one of the bands I recommended in my Up and Coming Artists post in August and I still stand by that. I have loved this not as known band especially for their EP’s and I say the same for their debut record, Imagine This. It strays away slightly from their harder rock sound in their EP, From Where I’d Rather Be, and uses some synth effects and such but it still sounds really good. All the songs are catchy and give you another reason to listen to these guys.

Recommended Songs: “Chapters,” “Search the Night,” “Fell From the Stars” and “Send Me Crazy”

“Okay”-As It Is:

This is the newest single by UK band, As It Is, which I just wrote a post about. Just listen to the song, it’s great.

Neck Deep:

Ever since the release of Life’s Not Out To Get You, I have been obsessed with this band. I’ve been listening to them since they released this record and went back to listen to their older stuff and enjoy it just as much as their newest record. They are one of the best pop punk bands I have ever heard and are dominating the genre right now. I’m looking forward to their newest music because I know it will be amazing.

Recommended Songs: “Lime St.,” “Smooth Seas Don’t Make Good Sailors,” “December,” “Damsel in Distress” and “Candour.”

As It Is – “Okay” review

For those who follow the UK pop punk band, As It Is on social media then you know how slightly active the band was until four days ago. They announced their new album, Okay to be released on Jan. 20, 2017 and streamed their lead single, “Okay.”

They began their ‘teasing’ by posting a series of pictures on Instagram that formed this picture when they were put together:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon after, they released lyrics to their lead single, “Okay,” ‘I don’t think that I’m okay.” Along with that, they posted a variety of pictures that look like they were taken in the 1950s with the reoccurring logo that said, ‘Happy Co.’

Finally, on Sept. 22 they announced their album and single and “Okay” was streamed through their label, Fearless Records.

As for the song, I am enjoying their sound that their second album will take on. It’s still true to the sound from Never Happy, but with a new twist that I can’t seem to identify. Whatever it is, I’m liking it.

Vocalist, Patty Walter’s voice sounds as if it is improving as they continue and grow as a band. I already loved how it sounds in their previous songs, but I am enjoying it even more in this song. My only slight problem is the lyrics are not as complex as their previous songs, they are more simplified. That was a bit of a disappointment since I am used to their unique writing style and lyricism. So, I hope that continues on the other songs from this record.

Needless to say, I am a huge fan of this band and this single. I, along with other fans, have been long awaiting new material from them and this makes me excited for the rest of the record.

Rating: 8/10

 

As It Is-Never Happy, Ever After review

I’ve been following As It Is since their second EP, This Mind of Mine, and easily fell in love with the band. Now that I have been listening to Never Happy, Ever After since release (and I still am), I can call this album a true masterpiece created by a talented up and coming band.

The album follows a theme that is all about one person the musician either broke up with or left him and feels that it is all his fault, and the songs “Speak Soft,” “Sorry,” “Dial Tones,” “Concrete” and “Turn Back to Me” portray this in the lyrics. He blames himself for everything that happened between them. This theme makes the album really powerful and repeatable to anyone who lost someone they care about and blame themselves for the break up/why they left.

Never Happy, Ever After starts of strong with “Speak Soft,” and they chose the perfect song to begin the album with. Lead vocalist, Patty Walters holds nothing back, especially in the first five seconds. Those seconds sold me on this song and in turn, the whole record. It shows off Patty’s vocalist capabilities in the very beginning. The absence of instruments in the first three really add something special to this song. Guitarists Andy Westhead and Benjamin Biss create unique guitar riffs, not only on this track, but on the whole album. Lyrics that connect back to the theme include, “Why should I stick around when all I do is let you down.” The musician accepts that he is at fault and already hurt this person before. He could have had a second chance but he knows he will only mess up again.

“Sorry” feels like a true pop punk song, the beginning guitar riff gives off a State Champs vibe, which many pop punk fans will appreciate. The chorus is a beautiful mix between Walters and Biss vocals and how well they blend together. Biss’s deeper voice when singing, “On my own,” transitions nicely into Walter’s higher notes of “I’m trying not to feel ’cause I’m feeling like the world forgot me.”In addition, the band references the title of the album in this song. “I’m just a reader, you’re every chapter. Never happy, ever after.” I like how they took this approach instead of making a title track. It was a unique idea and executed very well.

“Dial Tones” is not only the band’s first single for this album, a fan favorite but an amazing track all around. The guitar riff alongside Patrick Foley’s drums creates a different yet familiar feel to the sound of the album all together. Not only is the chorus my favorite chorus the band’s created but Biss’s vocals are superb. He demonstrates that he can sing softly in the background, which we know and love, but also that he has an aggressive side that is shown off in this song and in only one verse.
“Cause I promised myself I’d never hurt you and I did. If you can’t trust a liar how can you trust me again? I’m running out of ways to say I’m sorry.” These lyrics reflect to the theme of the album once again because the musician continues to blame himself for hurting this person and he does not know how to correct what he has done.

With fast tight drums (especially after the bridge), great guitars and powerful pop punk vocalist, “Concrete” is another one of the tracks that fits in with the pop punk scene. This song is impossible not to love. This song’s lyrics are shown off in a different way that the musician understands who he is and how he acts. “My concrete’s set, it’s permanent, I’m stuck this way and I can never change.” He’s trying to cope with losing this special person that he hurt by accepting this may be how it is supposed to be.

“Turn Back to Me” is the last track that seems to demonstrate the musician blaming himself. The chorus repeats, “It’s all fault and I know it,” he stills wants the person back in his life but because of the previous song, he can now accept being without her by understanding himself.

Never Happy, Ever After is a record that does not get old, in fact it only gets better after each listen. The band did an excellent job creating songs that blend well together and each one has that As It Is feel to it, especially with the guitars, while still creating ones that felt unique and with their own differences. This album is a must have for fans of not only pop punk but the rock lovers all around.