As It Is is known for putting out albums that give their audience bangers after bangers, so when they announced this album not long after their last release Okay, everyone had their hopes on high. Just a general comment before we dive into it, but it’s very hard to pinpoint a concrete opinion on this album because of the fine line it rides, especially when comparing it to the band’s previous releases. Throughout the album, the band switches their focus to provide the audience with heavier instrumental features, which gives the individual instrumentalists the opportunity to just give it all they got during every part of the album. From this, the band is able to provide thicker textures with more complex harmonies. This will give the audience a nice sense of contrast when the band’s moments of vocal isolation and strategic silence are present. This contrast shows the listeners the heavier shift that the band is making while they are still giving their audience some softer moments in their toned back tracks. As the band moves through this realm of contrast, it is no surprise that they toy around with various musical genres as they do so. The most commonly heard ones are that of the alternative and pop genre with dashes of the older punk style to tie together their older, pop punk, characteristic sound. This helps to keep their audience engaged, while providing them with that clear divide and evolution that is prominent in their new material, which will help them to appeal to a bigger set of people. The portion of this record that is most talked about would be the meaning behind the lyrical content. In this album, the band talks about the stigmas and the stereotypes of mental illness, and they shed light on what its really like to live with them. Talking about such a subject is such a risk, but the band does so in such a raw way, which helps the audience to connect with the emotions that are just bursting through the seams of the tracks on this album. Overall, I am giving this album a strong 3.5 out of 5 stars. I wanted to bump this album up to a higher score because I admire the steps As It Is are taking to speak out about mental illnesses and things of that nature. However, this album, even though musically speaking is very technically solid, it lacks a punch that will keep it memorable moving forward.
“The Reaper”, “The End.”, “The Wounded World”
When going through this album, a lot of the songs have a similar set up, musically speaking; however, these songs stick out among the pack. They are able to be the front-runners of the album, for they are the driving force of the heavier sound that As It Is utilizes throughout the record. Also, these tracks give the audience a flashback to the older times of the band during the more vulnerable moments of each selection. Therefore, the mixture of the new to old sound with the added emotive vulnerable side makes these a must listen to if you’re going to listen to anything off this album.
When one first glances at the artwork for this album, it wouldn’t be shocking if they were surprised because with this record, As It Is went through a huge identity shift. Before, As It Is was popping the brighter, more retro vibe, and “The Great Depression” circles around only two main colors: black and red. Additionally, the band’s previous album covers were more aesthetically pleasing, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if the audience, before even listening to the record, were a little off-put by what they might hear because everything seemed to be completely different from what they were used to. The title of the album and the cover take a direct affiliation to the music presented on it because it all revolves around the idea of depression. It is one thing for a band to speak out on mental illnesses within their music, but instead of taking a more subtle approach to that, As It Is decided to make it more than well known that that was their plan. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, for it shows that the band is willing to show up and stand up for what they are passionate about; however, the album cover isn’t the most inviting thing ever. To continue, even though the band speaks out on the inter-workings of depression, this album cover almost depicts it to be a bad thing to possess, which isn’t their intent nor a good intent to have. I would easily say that this album cover doesn’t necessarily hurt the success of this album, but it doesn’t enhance it in the slightest.
*”The Great Depression” was released on August 10, 2018 through Fearless Records.