This album was released a few weeks ago and it’s already one of my favorites! Funnily enough, AS IT IS is one of those bands I stumbled upon totally by accident–remember when iTunes used to do a free song of the week? Well, one week AS IT IS’ single “Dial Tones” (Never Happy, Ever After) was the free song. I downloaded it and loved it. I ended up saving almost all of their music on Spotify.
A little about the band: AS IT IS is a four-year strong British pop punk band from Brighton, England, currently signed with Fearless Records (Pierce the Veil, Mayday Parade)–the first UK band to be signed to Fearless, actually. Members include Patty Walters (lead vocals), Patrick Foley (drums), Andy Westhead (lead guitar), Ben Biss (vocals, rhythm guitar), and Alistair Testo (bass).
As Walters put it in the album’s lyric booklet, the album is about “the idea that it’s okay to not be okay.” The album’s darker, more serious lyrics greatly contrast the brightly colored 1950’s-inspired album artwork. So far, okay. has already gotten quite a few good reviews. Rock Sound called okay. as “real, raw and one of 2017’s first essential listens.” New Noise Magazine described the album as “smoothly divided between the infectiously upbeat and surprisingly “gritty,” which I must certainly agree with!
1. Pretty Little Distance
This opening track is already a personal favorite. It’s a perfect hook song for the beginning of the album. It also has this awesome sound, that New Noise Magazine perfectly described as this “swoon of an old school, Drive-Thru band.” The descriptive lyrics within the chorus perfectly fit the 1950’s aesthetic theme AS IT IS has going on: the lyrics talk about how if things look good from a “pretty little distance,” why bother taking a closer look at the reality of those oh-so-perfect lives?
I found an interview that Rock Sound did with Patty and Ben, where Patty confessed that he wrote this song during his worst breakdown to date. He stated that he “internalized and ignored my feelings, which ate away at me for months.” Writing this song led him to open up to those closest to him, finally admitting just how bad his state was and beginning to take steps towards self-help. This is just one of several emotional and intense stories I’ve found on song backstories for this album, and to me, it makes this album that much more special and important.
3. Hey Rachel
The name of this track initially made me think of Ross and Rachel from Friends. But it’s actually a serious apology song for Patty’s little sister, whom he wasn’t there for enough during a rough period in her life (genius.com). Knowing that bit of information cast a whole new light on this song, and made me appreciate and like it that much more.
4. Patchwork Love
This song has great music and a beautiful opening and bridge, but it’s on such a sad topic. It’s about being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t love you anymore, which we all know is a sucky feeling, and you just want that person to be happy even if it’s not with you. Patty described this song as “written to be a painful, bittersweet moment for two people who ultimately want the other to be happy” (Rock Sound interview).
5. Curtains Close
So this song was not at all what I was expecting it to be about. Apparently, Ben grew up with the “ideal”-looking family, yet his parents ended their 20-year marriage around the time he went off to university. So this track is about revealing to the world the reality behind a “perfect family.” It’s such an emotionally vulnerable track that “properly shows the band’s softer side” (New Noise Magazine).
6. No Way Out
One thing I found interesting about this track is how they inserted a short monologue towards the end of the song. Not many artists do that, and the only song off the top of my head that did that is “Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying” by Fall Out Boy (yeah, I know that’s an oldie). It’s so intense, between the lyrics and Walters yelling for most of the monologue, but that just makes you really listen to what he’s saying. Another review I found felt that inserting the monologue “proves this band have balls as well as hooks,” and I second that statement (Rock Sound).
What’s cool about this track is that the vocals are split between Patty and Ben. The song is about how we all have two versions of ourselves: our true, damaged selves; and the “ideal” version of ourselves that we project in public. Patty sings the part of “my true and flawed self,” and Ben sings “from the perspective of my [Patty’s] alternate, designed self” (Rock Sound interview). To have someone else singing lyrics about your public self is an interesting concept.
Interestingly, this song is named after Ben’s grandfather, whom he visited in the hospital right before leaving to record okay. That moment of seeing his grandfather in a pained state inspired Ben to write a song “not about him dying…but those moments when you really fear the inevitable” (Rock Sound interview). The music for this song has an eerie, moody tone that fits Ben’s description of the song’s point.
9. Until I Return
You know how every band has at least one song that’s about the band significant others? This is that song. It’s about the band’s girlfriends, who constantly worry about the boys and “try to console us whilst we’re perpetually away” (Rock Sound interview). I find that really sweet and a fresh take on the whole “writing a song for band girlfriends” idea.
Yet another track dedicated to loved ones–only this time, the song is for all the band’s friends, past and present, whom they went to shows and performed with over the years. This is kind of awesome that AS IT IS did that, because not a lot of songs lately take the time to appreciate those who are there for you other than family or significant others (although if you can think of one, comment it below! I’m curious).
11. Still Remembering
AS IT IS always includes at least one acoustic or slower song on each album, and it’s always this beautiful, heart-wrenching song. “Still Remembering” fits right into this trend, and doesn’t disappoint! This track is a classic pop punk “acoustic ballad about a love lost” (Stitched Sound) that will make you want to cry with its beautiful lyrics and sound.♫
Go check out AS IT IS on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and head on over to their website for info on tour dates and new music! If you like what you read here, give this blog a follow (button below)! And head on over here for link to my social media, where I regularly update about new blogs! If you’re a band or artist looking for promotion opportunities, feel free to email me if you’d like to be considered for a future blog post!
Rock Sound: Review http://www.rocksound.tv/reviews/read/as-it-is-okay
Stitched Sound review: http://stitchedsound.com/album-review-as-it-is-okay/
New Music Magazine review: http://newnoisemagazine.com/album-review-okay/