By Caroline Meister
As It Is, a pop punk band hailing from Brighton, England, has been making waves across the pond with the release of their new album, okay. The album, which was just released on January 20th, has already amassed a lot of positive attention on itunes; nearly every single review or rating has more than four stars. I’ve been fan of these guys for a little over a year now, having fallen in love with their debut album, Happily Never After.
Unlike their first album, okay digs a little deeper into the hardcore side of things, as lead vocalist Patty Walters showcases his screaming skills on tracks like “Soap.” There is also a palpable sense of anger on the track “Austen” that was less present on Happily Never After. This is not to say that okay is a complete deviation from the band’s pop punk roots, but it instead shows a natural (and needed) sense of growth and maturity. Also, the songs on okay seem to flow together in a more cohesive manner than the previous record did, and there seems to be more of a theme.
In addition to the release of the album, As It Is has created an entire marketing campaign to promote the album, called Happy Co., which is an ironic way to showcase the album’s common themes of heartbreak and depression. Happy Co. has its own Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube channel. To be honest though, it’s purpose is still kind of a mystery to me. I’m not sure if it will continue to exist now that the album has been released.
Unlike most bands, As It Is has strayed away from feature tracks; every single track on the album is solely sung by them without guests, which I think is a smart move. Too often, I feel that bands get excited after their preliminary success and kind of jump the gun when it comes to features. While features are great, I like it when I can see a band’s direction without any distractions. Especially with such a young band, I think it’s important that they truly find their niche.
That doesn’t mean okay is devoid of any experimentation; in fact, Patty dabbles in spoken word with an insertion at the end of the track “No Way Out” and experiments with a more electrified/techno guitar riff at the opening of “Hey Rachel.” My favorite tracks are, in no particular order: “Patchwork Love,” “Still Remembering,” and “The Coast is Where Home Is.” I don’t feel that ‘I need to listen this for the next month’ feeling I got when I listened to Happily Never After, but perhaps that was due to never having heard them before. While I do thoroughly enjoy the album, I am not super in love with it.