okay. released recently and it’s already one of my favorites!
Funnily enough, AS IT IS is one of those bands I discovered by accident, back when iTunes used to do a free song of the week. One week, AS IT IS’ single “Dial Tones” (Never Happy, Ever After) was the free song; after one listen, I was hooked.
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. Members include Patty Walters (lead vocals), Patrick Foley (drums), Andy Westhead (lead guitar), Ben Biss (vocals, rhythm guitar), and Alistair Testo (bass).
As Walters stated in the album’s booklet, okay. 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. okay. been received well by critics: Rock Sound called okay. as “real, raw and one of 2017’s first essential listens,” while New Noise Magazine described it s “smoothly divided between the infectiously upbeat and surprisingly ‘gritty.'”
1. Pretty Little Distance
This opening track is a personal favorite. “Pretty Little Distance” is a perfect opening track, with an awesome sound that has the “swoon of an old school, Drive-Thru band” (New Noise Magazine). The chorus’ descriptive lyrics perfectly fit the 1950s aesthetic AS IT IS has going on, talking about as long as things look good from afar, “why look twice at a beautiful existence” to see the darker reality underneath?
In an with Rock Sound, Walters 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 allowed him to open up to those closest to him, admit the severity of his mental state, and begin to take steps towards self-help. There are several emotional and intense stories behind this okay., and to me, it makes this album that much more special and important.
3. Hey Rachel
The name in this track initially had me thinking of Ross and Rachel from “Friends.” In reality, “Hey Rachel” is a serious apology song for Walters’ little sister, whom he wasn’t there for during a rough period in her life. This tidbit casts a whole new light on this song, adding new meaning and a more serious undertone.
4. Patchwork Love
“Patchwork Love” is a musically great track with a beautiful opening and bridge, but it’s on such a sad topic. Walters said this was was “written to be a painful, bittersweet moment for two people who ultimately want the other to be happy” (Rock Sound). It’s about being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t love you anymore (always a sucky feeling), and just wanting that person to be happy even if it’s not with you.
5. Curtains Close
This song was in no way what I expected it to be about. Biss grew up with the “ideal”-looking family, only for his parents to end their 20-year marriage around the time he left for university. “Curtains Close” is revealing to the world the reality behind a “perfect family”–taking that closer look at the perfect-looking world that “Pretty Little Distance” describes. It’s such an emotionally vulnerable track that “properly shows the band’s softer side” (New Noise Magazine).
6. No Way Out
I enjoyed the short monologue towards the end of the song. Not many artists do that, and whenever it’s done, a certain despair and additional level of emotion is instantly added to the track; for example, the monologue at the end of Fall Out Boy’s “Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying.” It makes for an intense track, between the lyrics and Walters yelling for most of the monologue. The yelling makes you really listen to what he’s saying.
“Soap” is about the two versions of ourselves: the true, damaged selves; and the “ideal” version of ourselves that we project in public. The vocals on the track are split between Walters and Biss: Walters sings the part of “my true and flawed self,” and Biss sings “from the perspective of my [Walters’] alternate, designed self” (Rock Sound).
“Austen” is named after Biss’ grandfather, whom he visited in the hospital right before leaving to record okay. Seeing his grandfather in such a weak, pained state inspired Biss to write a song “not about him dying…but those moments when you really fear the inevitable” (Rock Sound). The music for this song has an eerie, moody tone that fits the topic.
9. Until I Return
“Until I Return” is AS IT IS’ one song about the band members’ significant others. The song is about how the girlfriends constantly worry about the boys and “try to console us whilst we’re perpetually away” (Rock Sound). Such a perspective is a sweet and fresh take on the whole “writing a song for band girlfriends” idea.
“The Coast” is another track dedicated to loved ones; only this time, it’s a song for all the band’s friends, past and present, whom they went to shows and performed with over the years. It’s an appreciation track that’s sentimental without being overly cheesy or sappy.
11. Still Remembering
AS IT IS always includes at least one acoustic or slower song on each album, and it’s always beautiful and heart-wrenching. “Still Remembering” continues this trend, and is just as emotional as the others. The song is a classic pop punk “acoustic ballad about a love lost” that will make you want to cry with its beautiful lyrics and sound (Stitched Sound).
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