“Standards” raises musical standards

Into it. Over it.’s new album boasts anthemic and balladry songs in a beautiful way.

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Morgan Mitchell, Writer

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When I first read on Facebook that Evan Weiss, the solo member of Into It. Over it., locked himself in a cabin in the snowy woods of Vermont for 30 days to write songs for their new album, I knew it was not going to be anything less than amazing.

Then the drummer who tours with Weiss, Joshua David Sparks, joined him for the greater part of those 30 days and I could not contain my excitement. Both are excellent musicians and will not let the other go crazy and breakdown during their days locked up. It was safe to say this album would blow fans’ minds.

After soundless videos teasing fans all over the world and videos with sound showing snippets from songs, the album was finally released on March 11 and was titled “Standards.”

upbeat and anthemic

The 30 cold days in a tiny cabin were worth every frustrating minute because this album is a perfect work of art.

Overall, the album is more upbeat and anthemic than albums in the past. The lyrics are bitter and you can feel the frustration Weiss feels towards everyone who ever pissed him off. It is obvious a drummer helped write these songs, the percussions are fast and the drum patterns, fills and transitions are better executed than they have ever been before. There are also more of these than in previous albums and make a great addition.

Open Casket” is a nice acoustic-sounding introduction to the album and is followed by “Closing Argument,” which sounds like a reflection of the songwriting process. Weiss’ lyrics say he is always in his head, but now he is searching for thoughts he cannot find. The lyrics are vague and can be applied many different ways, but it feels like the frustration of being locked away trying to write lyrics that suddenly will not come to you.

Although I appreciate the anthemic, faster songs, I love how Weiss executes balladry songs. “Your Lasting Image” comes close to the ballad style Weiss does so well. It still has bitter lyrics, but instead of wanting to shout into the void, I found myself laying on a beach. The guitar riffs wash over you like waves washing up to the shore, which mirrors Weiss’ lyrics of having his memories of a past relationship washed and faded away. The song also has a petal effect that sounds like something you would hear coming from a submarine.

lost at sea

“Your Lasting Image” and “Old Lace & Ivory” bleed into each other but now you flash back to how you ended up on the beach. The lyrics of “Old Lace & Ivory” literally state he has been lost at sea so they nail that imagery with the instrumentals. The lyrics become obvious with marine metaphors – Weiss describes his mind as an ocean and metaphorically references driftwood, ship debris, wreckage, the tide, sailing, and more.

“Old Lace & Ivory” is an old song meant to be on a Polyvinyl 7-inch two years ago. Weiss re-recorded it with his guitar and wanted to add more instrumentals, but their producer, John Vanderslice, told him the song did not need anything else and convinced him to leave it as it was, according to Blare Magazine. That saved the song because it is so simple it feels more open and honest. It is easier on the ears and beautiful. Plus the breather from the voice layering Weiss loves to do is much appreciated.

bitter anthems

After the balladry break, “Adult Contempt” throws you right back into the bitter anthems, fast drum patterns and shouting into the void.

I was surprised by “Anesthetic” because the song is slow, but the instrumentals are not balladry. Weiss told Billboard, “I discovered the ‘Anesthetic’ guitar line on my old phone and we got to work. The song is played at 66 bpm. If you care to test yourself as a musician, follow the question ‘How fast can you play it?’ with ‘How slow can you play it?’ The answer for us was this song. The final result is the most proud of anything I have ever made.”

The entirety of “Standards” is something Weiss should be most proud of because it gave fans exactly what they expected — amazing lyrics and instrumentals that show the expansion of talent Weiss and Sparks possess. Now it is time to see them perform it live, April 2 at the Troubadour.

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“Standards” raises musical standards