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Album Review: As It Is – okay.

The internet has brought about many good and useful things. Netflix, the ability to order food with minimal human interaction, and keeping in touch with friends across the globe, are to name but a few.

A rather unexpected result of the growth of the online community is, however, its effect on music. Where before we were limited to either whatever was played on chart shows or MTV, or local bands playing sweaty bars in our hometowns, nowadays we have a much wider choice of what we can and want to listen to.

As It Is are a band who would not exist as they are without the internet. Formed in 2012, the members came together by replying to an online advert put out by then YouTuber and current frontman, Patty Walters. A quick Google search reveals that they’re very much aware of their internet origins and sizeable online fanbase, deciding to drop a song from their new album, okay., every day in the run-up to its release.

To my shame, I wasn’t really aware of Patty Walters’ work prior to As It Is, but my friend kindly informed me he put out “good relatable teen content, like quite generic if I remember rightly.” As it happens, this applies quite nicely to okay. The style of As It Is made me incredibly nostalgic for 00s emo pop-punk, in the best possible way. And if a distinctive singing voice worked for Tom Delonge, it can work here too, I suppose.

The album starts with “Pretty Little Distance,” which would fit in a playlist of Taking Back Sunday, Cute is What We Aim For, and Blink 182. Although, maybe that doesn’t give it the credit it really deserves. Give it a few more spins, and you start to realise it’s actually quite a clever song, which ties in with album cover. The album cover seems nice and cheery from “a pretty little distance,” but if you look closer, the pretty girl cycling down a suburban street has an atomic bomb in her basket.

“Okay” is, surprisingly, a song about someone admitting they’re not okay. Maybe they realised they had an atomic bomb in their basket, who knows. It’s a song which will probably will resonate with a lot of people, especially considering their younger fanbase will be reaching those crucial ages of trying to find themselves and working out their life plans. But, to be fair to As It Is, it takes a lot to admit to maybe not being okay, never mind to sing it.

“Hey Rachel” is a good song for drumbeat lovers, thanks to drummer Patrick Foley’s work on this piece, and “Patchwork Love” once again would be a enjoyed by those into the pop-punk scene. Its piano outro segues smoothly into “Curtains Close,” a song which does sound a little bit too much like its predecessor, but is a smooth, slow, quite enjoyable song nevertheless. It’s probably best enjoyed gazing longingly out of a raindrop-speckled window.

“No Way Out” picks up the pace but not the tone. It’s still an enjoyable song, and they seem to pull off the spoken word element inserted midway through the song. “Soap” is a good song, with a killer bassline and harmonic vocals during the verses and a punchy chorus. But I feel like it trails off at the end, where I think it would have made more sense to pick up its heavier elements from the chorus again. “Austen” brings back gritty instrumentals which contrast from the softer vocals.

“Until I Return” is classically emo, featuring a “promise that I’ll fight but I can’t promise that I’ll be fine.” There’s a nice aquatic extended metaphor, with reference to a “one true north” for someone who may have lost their way. It might seem a little depressing at first, but it shows optimism, as there is clearly the assurance to anyone feeling lost that everything will be back on track eventually.

“The Coast is Where Home is” is the penultimate song, and seems to go all out musically before the album concludes with “Still Remembering.” I’d say the final track serves as an acoustic, calmer cool-down for anyone listening to this album from start to finish. It’s no less emotional than the former, but both serve distinctive purposes. The finale feels like a song about acceptance, rather than fighting.

As It Is aimed to make a “personal and honest record,” and I think it’s safe to say they have done that with Okay. From a brief glance at social media, it looks like it is being well received by fans. I think they’ll enjoy the full thing.

Keep up with As It Is:

Facebook|Twitter|Official Site

Buy okay. on iTunes and in stores now.

Compositions - 7.5
Breaking Ground - 6
Engagement - 8.5
Lyrical Voice - 8
Production - 8.5


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About Laura

Freelance arts, culture, and music journalist. Lots of words and some radio. Studying for an MA in Media and Journalism. Trying their best.

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