In the four long years since his last full-length ‘Standards’, a lot has changed for seasoned emo-revival veteran Evan Weiss (aka Into It. Over It.).
The departure of long-time drummer and collaborator Josh Sparks was to be the initial domino in a 2017 that saw Weiss accrue mass amounts of touring debt as well as the end of his long-term relationship.
In a sense, ‘Figure’ is the impossibility and the saving grace; a culmination of twenty years of writing, growth, acceptance, and maturity, both musically and personally. Engineer and drummer, Adam Beck, has been credited with saving Weiss‘ life by entering into a creative, therapeutic partnership that saw the duo craft what in essence is a fragile, focused, exceptional piece of art.
What once was precise, mathy, emo pop-punk balladry has all but morphed into intricate, atmospheric, cascading pieces as detailed as they are nuanced.
Cuts like ‘Courtesy Greetings’ and the tranquil ‘Breathing Patterns’ are all but carried by the simultaneous fluidity and precision of Beck‘s drumming, the latter of which is probably one of the most beautiful and vulnerable songs that Weiss has ever penned, where he admits that he’s “still sore from being burned by every fire I’ve begun”.
These complex percussive elements ultimately allow Weiss to play instrumental god, putting his multi-faceted chops on full display with sections spaced for chunky bass lines, while other pieces go on for minutes at a time with distorted waves of tonal fuzz echoing throughout while voice and percussion carry all.
Utilising an ever-increasing expansive array of sonic soundscapes, the level of scope that appeared on earlier releases has blossomed, ballooned, and encompassed the entire audible aesthetic that Into It. Over It. now wades in.
Lyrically, Weiss is as sharp, cynical, sincere, light-hearted, and anxious as he’s ever been, but there’s an element of tepid positivity now, not necessarily hopeful but more at ease with the demise of youth and acceptance of oneself. It’s the sense of someone seeing their world come down around them, and merely just trying to get on with the task of rebuilding, but finding meaning in every precarious piece of reassembly.
Not only is ‘Figure’ hands down the best album of Weiss‘ career, but it’s also a profound listening experience, one that transcends the trappings of emo, indie rock, or singer/songwriter fare. Few projects rarely exude this level of depth, earnest emotion, and intelligence. This is a subversive, triumphant return.
Lover of choons, flums, bukes and such. I like making music. I like writing about music. I like burgers and emo-trap. Also suffer from a slight case of knowitallism. I wish every song had a breakdown.