Who It Is: Into It. Over It. – Standards; Triple Crown Records (2016)
What It Sounds Like: The ghosts of emo past, present, and yet to come
Every so often an album clicks into place in a way that allows it to transcend the sum of its parts. Into It. Over It.’s third full-length Standards is one of those albums, encapsulating the essence of the band, their influences, and the emo genre’s past, present, and future. Standards is more than just an album; it is an experience. Into It. Over It. had every intention of setting this album apart from the very beginning – the writing and recording processes played a major role in the way it was developed, as well as the obvious talent of the band’s members.
In the isolation of a remote Vermont cabin, all distractions were removed and total focus was put on writing the album over the course of an entire month. During recording, which took place on the opposite side of the county, full attention was again placed on authentic, concentrated creation through completely analog means. Two separate environments came together to produce something truly special.
Each track on Standards is simplistic yet intricate, and chaotic yet meticulously planned. The songs are layered, but through emphasis on their building blocks all clutter has been removed. This expert display of songwriting prowess allows each individual part to be vital on its own while contributing equally to the end product.
Sonically, the album begins and ends on a similar note. “Open Casket” and “The Circle Of The Same Ideas” are both stripped down, showing off the silky smoothness of Evan Weiss’s voice. But these tracks offer more than a simplistic acoustic melody, bringing in additional instrumental layers in a way that draws in the audience’s attention. Especially in the opener, there is a sense of growing anticipation towards something more.
That “something more” is quickly delivered in one of Standards’ most outstanding tracks, “No EQ.” The instrumental sounds, especially those of the guitar and percussion, are unbelievable. They are presented in a seamlessly crisp way that leaves nothing to the imagination – it feels like you are there, in the room, as it is being recorded. A variety of sounds come together cohesively and organically throughout the record, holding this sense of presence steady.
Standards represents a search for identity. It examines the expectations of music, of personality, of principles, and then flips them on their head. The questions that appear during isolation, as an artist, and as a person navigating adulthood are all examined. This is best embodied in “Who You Are ≠ Where You Are.” The title itself deals with identity and how is typically defined, going against the notion that geography is a key factor. Musically, a melting pot of sounds is presented, experimenting with and blending multiple influences. Jangly, accented guitars mix with sloping and distorted ones, which in turn become powerful chords. Perhaps the track’s most powerful element is its lyricism, which further develops the hypothesis that people are who they are despite their physical location. “A poor excuse to leave your old New York home for the Midwest glow / You are not the form / You aren’t where your head rests / The truth is, no personal touch made it all too much,” Weiss sings.
This album plays out like a novel and, in many cases, reads like one too. Taking in the lyrics of “Old Lace & Ivory,” it is easy to imagine these lines being picked directly from a classic writing. There are obvious peaks and valleys throughout the record with moments of uncertainty among those of confidence. These waves mirror real life and the process of growth, which is never perfectly linear. On the macro level Standards is a triumph, one which breaks out of the preconceived notions of the genre and creates a new identity set outside of others’ standards. When examined on a smaller scale it hits close to home, becoming a personal journey of self-discovery. No matter how you look at it, listen to it, or experience it, Standards is a work of true art destined to be incredibly influential.
You Should Probably Listen To: “No EQ,” “Bible Black,” “Adult Contempt”
Overall Rating: 9.7/10