Into It. Over It – Standards (2016): Review

into it

Produced by John Vanderslice
Label – Triple Crown

Evan Weiss’ effort to test his creative resolve by esconcing himself (and drummer Joshua David Sparks) to a remote Vermont log cabin to write songs worked wonders if “Standards”, his third long player, is anything to go by. He’s obviously not the first to wander to a lonely spot in order to discover his muse, but this collection contains all the authentic elements to break any notion that he’s merely an emo revivalist. Although there’s a hint of previous journeys, his new sound has evolved into a mix of alternative rock and pop that feels fully fleshed, and benefits from the expert guidance of producer John Vanderslice. Confidently, he opens with a ballad, the barbed but beautiful “Open Casket”, which berates his hometown wasters “who torch their 20s like it’s Kerosene”. The record is centered towards the deftly atmospheric “Your Lasting Image”, which naturally segues into the lullaby background melodies of “Old Lace And Ivory”. It’s not all gentle restraint either, as “Adult Contempt”, “Vis Major” and “No EQ” returns the singer to more urgent and familiar territory, with propelling rhythms from Sparkes, and surprisingly skillful instrumentation. The outstanding moment sneaks close to the end with the sleepy, drifting folk of “Anesthetic”. Tenderly arranged, it highlights the genuine progress Weiss has made.

If locking Evan Weiss away an hour away from nearest civilization and no phone or internet communication leads to more records as strong as “Standards”, then he should make the solitude his inspiration for every future recording, because on this evidence he’s heading in the right direction.

7/10

Track Listing
A1 Open Casket
A2 Closing Argument
A3 No EQ
A4 Vis Major
A5 Your Lasting Image
A6 Old Lace & Ivory
B1 Adult Contempt
B2 Required Reading
B3 Bible Black
B4 Who You Are ≠ Where You Are
B5 Anesthetic
B6 The Circle Of The Same Ideas

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4 responses to “Into It. Over It – Standards (2016): Review

    • Oh yes, for definite JP. There’s definitely a DCFC sound. I just think he’s stretched himself beyond the obvious emo revivalist stigma and the ballads in particular are worthy of investigation. It’s not the best record of 2016 but it’s a good one IMO. I’ve just purchased James’ new record and wondered if you’ve heard it yet? I know you’re a fan

      • I’ve only given it a few listens because I am waiting for Amazon to send me my vinyl copy. However, I will say that I didn’t like the single, “Nothing but love”, at first but it has grown on me in a big way. What do you think of it?

    • Yeah I’ve listened to it once. Sounds like they’ve moved away from organic instrumentation to a large extent and switched to electronica. I’ll keep listening over the next couple of weeks.

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