February 9, 2017

As It Is – Okay

use this one

As It Is is the latest pop-punk band being pushed as the next “big thing” in the scene. Their sophomore release Okay is their second album under Fearless Records.

The title track “Okay” is the epitome of the band in a nutshell: hooks you from the start with a catchy lead guitar riff, a slow buildup in the verse, and a booming chorus. It’s a solid and proven formula that has served them well. Adding a dash of variety, “Hey Rachel” boosts some impressive lyrics as vocalist Patty Walters reflects on his sisters depression growing up. Even in a more personal song, Patty has a knack for writing hooks and this track is no different. “No Way Out” offers a bit of experimentation with the spoken-word bridge. I’m still undecided about it, but I’m glad to see them trying something new. “Soap” is the first track I’d show skeptics of As It Is on how different this album truly is. It’s a beautiful blend of melodic guitar riffs and harsh vocals from Patty. This is the least poppy track on the album and one of their best. I hesitate to use the word “darker,” but in the context of this track and the album the description fits. “Soap” shows us they’re not afraid to experiment and explore new sounds. “Until I Return” is an old-school homage to Forever The Sickest Kids and serves as an easily digestible song that’s relentlessly fun.

I want to take a moment and talk about the music itself. For a band that’s being pushed so heavily in the younger teen markets, the music is surprisingly impressive. This isn’t a new sentiment to older fans of As It Is. It’s easy to catch the slick guitar riffs and creative drum fills sprinkled throughout each and every track. There are so many moments throughout the album where the verse/chorus progressions could rely on basic power chords and it would work just fine, but that’s not the case. A perfect example is the chorus in “Austen.” The second half of the chorus plays a retro-90’s pop-punk lead guitar to fuel the tone of the track. It turns a good track into a great one with this simple addition. As It Is could have phoned in this whole album and still made a profit, but Okay is truly an impressive sophomore record and a lot of that credit is due to the musicianship.

There are a lot of opinions about vocalist Patty Walters, but I urge critics to truly sit down and listen to this record. Unlike a few tracks on their first LP, Never Happy, Ever After, his vocals are never overbearing onĀ Okay. At moments, he pushes his voice to reach those raspy notes older fans love and it gives this album a “darker” tone. The lyrics are more personal, (look no further than Hey Rachel) and while not entirely groundbreaking, they don’t hinder the album and offer solid variety.

Okay takes everything that worked from their first release and amplifies it on Okay. The hooks, variety, and quality are all present. Each track on the album could be a single. This album benefits from multiple listens as I find myself loving a different track after each play. Love or hate them, they’re bringing a new audience to the scene and that’s always a good thing. There is a lot to enjoy on Okay and it’s one of the better sophomore releases I’ve ever seen in the scene.

Written by: Patrick Marion

Rating: 9/10

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