I had two countdowns for January 20th:
- Seeing if Trump would burst into flames the moment he placed his hand on the bible at the inauguration.
- Finally getting my hands on the album Okay by British pop-punk band As It Is.
Well as I’m sure you know my first countdown was a let down, but my second was much better than “okay”.
As It Is did it again, surpassing any and all expectations I had as a fan; they gave me so much more than I had anticipated. It could be because Patty Walters’ voice makes me melt, and everything else he does has me swooning.
They don’t call As It Is pop-punk for nothing. Tunes like Pretty Little Distance will make you remember the band’s name. The three minute track is nothing less than catchy and fun, and you can’t help but sing along to Patty Walters’ vocals- even if you know you probably shouldn’t make everyone around you suffer and listen to your mediocre singing capabilities.
Following Pretty Little Distance is the title track, which has the band diving into their feelings. I’m talking, taking listeners on a looping roller coaster of emotion from the moment the track begins; “I don’t know if I’ve been worse / I don’t know if I can change / But right now, I don’t think I’m okay.” The risk of releasing this song as a single paid off for the quintet when fans went crazy on social media, applauding the band for singing about something many people feel… That sometimes, you’re just not okay. The attention that this track received skyrocketed the anticipation fans around the globe already had for the album.
After listening to the first two pop radio ready tracks, you may be wondering, “where’s the punk to the pop-punk in this album?” Look no further than No Way Out. By far my favorite track on the album, No Way Out replaces the pop-py sound with a much needed punch of rock. Patrick Foley’s drums and Andy Westhead’s guitar fall in sync perfectly with Patty Walters’ powerful vocals. The strongest aspect of the song was the spoken breakdown, as the guitars and drums halt as Patty’s voice continues to say, “And as I let hindsight translate nightmares into reality/ I begin to see myself for who I truly was/ Somebody desperate.” The sound of the track changes: from the light punk that filled the beginning verses, to much more organic vocals and long guitar lines. Benjamin Biss joined in on vocals, and it became even more powerful. It’s not until the end of the verse when Patty concludes, “And I know that I fucked up/ But I want to grow from it.” It’s at that point in the song where everything finally connects. The song fits perfectly within the tracklist, and lyric after lyric falls into place with the motif of the album being that not being okay is okay.
Many musicians face the challenge of the sophomore slump- where their first album is phenomenal and their second falls flat in comparison. As It Is was one of the bands that critics believed would fall flat after their successful debut album Never Happy, Ever After, but boy, were they wrong. Keeping true to who they are as musicians, yet still managing to change up the style of their songs, As It Is can easily brush the weight of the sophomore slump off their shoulders.
Whether you live for pop-punk music like I do or you cringe at the mention of the genre, or even if you have no idea what the hell kind of music I’m talking about, I still recommend you check the album out. No matter what music genre you prefer, I can guarantee you, as a human being, you will have at least one day in your life where you just don’t feel okay. As It Is is always here to remind you that everyone has those days and it’s completely normal.
Well done for keeping it real As It Is, well done!