Never Happy, Ever After by As It Is (Fearless Records)
The first time we’d heard about Brighton-via-Minneapolis quartet As It Is, they had just released a wildly successful fan-funded EP entitled This Mind Of Mine. Channeling the likes of Taking Back Sunday and Yellowcard while placing their own imaginative meanderings on the line, there was no doubt the band would be garnering a good deal of attention from a soon to be worldwide base of converts. Now signed to Fearless Records, As It Is has taken a giant leap forward with Never Happy, Ever After, their full length debut guaranteed to launch this trans-Atlantic band into the stratosphere. While it may be a little early on to proclaim a “best debut CD of the year,” there is sure plenty to champion on this dynamic new effort!
“Why should I stick around when all I do is let you down?” is the commencement on the wildly infectious Speak Soft, demonstrating immediately the band’s penchant for emotional charged lyrics and sweeping choruses that remain in your head for ages. “We are the kids who are dead inside,” continues on the wistful lyrical contemplations on highlight track Cheap Shots & Setbacks, a track destined to be played at each and every As It Is show until the end of eternity. Sorry has a spinning singalong chorus that leaves a wondrously lasting impression.
Drowning In Deep Doubt displays a reflective side to the band that should move even the most jaded of music critic. Dial Tones is another track that has “hit single” written all over it – this one is destined to be another rapturous crowd favorite when performed live. And just when you think you’ve pegged As It Is as a pop punk confection, the melancholy ballad My Oceans Were Lakes displays an unexpected turn for the band that truly captivates the senses.
Concrete and Turn Back To Me brings the mood up to a rocking crescendo, with some superbly heartfelt vocal performances on both cuts. Another powerhouse one-two punch then occurs – first with the spiraling Can’t Save Myself (an earlier version also on the EP This Mind Of Mine) followed the simply stunning Silence (Pretending’s So Comfortable). And then closing it all out on a cautiously optimistic note is the tender You, The Room & The Devil On Your Shoulder, a lullaby of sorts showing yet another exquisite side to the As It Is experience.
The resourceful As It Is roster of talent consists of Patty Walters on vocals, Benjamin Biss on vocals and guitar, Andy Westhead on guitar, Patrick Foley on drums, and Alistair Testo on bass. Never Happy, Ever After was skillfully produced by James Paul Wisner (Paramore, Dashboard Confessional, Underoath), and the results are well worth checking into. With a summer on the Vans Warped Tour on the horizon and an incredible album to back it all up, expect As It Is to launch into the big leagues by the time 2015 spins to a conclusion! Another terrific discovery from the folks at Fearless Records!
(Review by Ken Morton)
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