August 7, 2018 As It Is – The Great Depression (Album Review)
Fresh off their 2018 Van Warped Tour run, As It Is are poised to deliver new product, The Great Depression, on Friday, August 10, 2018, thanks to Fearless Records. Consumers, prepare yourselves!
Getting their start in 2012, British Pop-Punkers As It Is would go on to build quite a name for themselves with the release of four EPs, along with two full-length albums – 2015’s Never Happy, Ever After and 2017’s okay. With picture-perfect harmonies and infectious melodies, the band quickly rose above their humble beginnings – thanks to the online service Join My Band – and went onward to tour the world, sharing stages with the likes of Senses Fail, Sum 41, All Time Low, Sleeping With Sirens, Mayday Parade, Neck Deep, State Champs, Waterparks, and many, many more.
Ready to continue to prove their merits, As It Is – Vocalist Patty Walters, Guitarist Benjamin Langford-Biss, Bassist Alistair Testo, and Drummer Patrick Foley – return with the 12-track The Great Depression. Produced by the band and Gene “Machine” Freeman (Four Year Strong, The Amity Affliction), the collection sees the boys expanding their sound, but always remaining dashingly catchy and entirely sincerely heartfelt. Touching on a myriad of mental illness/wellness topics – from depression and insomnia to the stigmas against young men – The Great Depression draws a clear analogy between the historic period of its title and today’s mental health crisis.
The Great Depression begins with the greeting “Hello, consumer!” This being the opening line of the album’s namesake track, a lament on our current state of affairs where we are all sick to consume the lies that we want to hear. The end result is a catchy, infectious, ironically upbeat yet also moody offering that starts the album off right with a bang. Similarly hyperalert in its topical approach, brothers and sisters, we’re all to blame for “The Wounded World,” our jet-black hearts waving white flags in surrender to this superbly-catchy, driving rocker. A stellar representation of As It Is’ infectiousness and social alertness, this is a must stream track!
They dip into a bass-heavy, thick groove for the gritty “The Fire, The Dark,” where love, like the world, shall end in one great conflagration. Next up, they tackle a deeply serious topic: the false belief that all things emo can be avoided simply by being a boy. Clearly, that’s not the case, and that emptiness inside can affect men, just as much as it does women. Here to remind you that it’s okay not to be okay, As It Is present “The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry)” a powerfully infectious sing-along in the name of emotion – despite your gender.
There is a standard Pop Punk sound to “The Handwritten Letter” before they dip into the spiritual with the punctuated delicacy of “The Question, The Answer,” a fragile plea to better understand this beautiful nightmare that is life. Returning to the grittier, harder-edged facet of the band’s personality, “The Reaper” – which features Aaron Gillespie of Underoath and The Almost – goes for a moodier approach with choruses that soar melodically alongside more crunching, bass-heavy verses. This segues right into “The Two Tongues (Screaming Salvation)” continuing the atmospheric, full-bodied rocking sound.
Infectiously rocking, “The Truth I’ll Never Tell” doesn’t want to bring you down. Those ‘80s synths though – too awesome to make anyone frown! Next, when your demons won’t allow you to sleep, “The Haunting” steps in to call your name and remind you to pursue that dream of feeling alive again. A gritty rocker that tackles the vicious cycle of trying to keep on keeping on in this destructive world, this is a glance into the face of today’s mental health struggle.
They go for the ballad-esque approach on the emotional “The Hurt, The Hope,” a February cold that brings mental anguish to the forefront while seeking peace and self-solace. As Walters promises “It’s gotta get better,” one cannot help but harken back to the days of Good Charlotte’s moving anti-suicide anthem, “Hold On.” Ultimately, beautiful harmonies open “The End,” a soaring, melodic rocker that strains Walters’ lungs to be heard in a world where no one is listening. Although, it seems, As It Is are listening and, kids, they’ve got your back!
On The Great Depression, there are standouts and some small flakes of filler, but by and large, As It Is prove that they are a viable, enjoyable commodity on the 2018 scene. An alert, socially aware band, these boys (who do cry!) show that they have deep heart, tackling a myriad of mental health issues and raising an empathetic eyebrow toward the inherent individual struggle in being human in these troubling times.
There are moments that tickle the heartstrings in the name of better days and remind of earlier Pop Punk sensations, but all the while there is a serious dedication to their craft and authoring their own distinct sound; which is to say that As It Is have influences, but they never wear them deliberately on their sleeves. They also have a clear focus on what kids are going through these days, the struggles that listeners face, and The Great Depression is that reassuring pat on the back that says, “Hey kid, you’re going to get through this. Just hold on, it gets better than you know!” Appreciating their heartfelt sincerity and infectious approach, CrypticRock give As It Is’ The Great Depression 4.5 of 5 stars.