With such a modern departure away from their previous sound, “Scaled and Icy” was pegged to intrigue listeners but also caused some apprehension. However, once listeners immersed themselves in the new content from the artist is can be said that this record truly embodies all sides of Twenty-One Pilots.
The overall soundscape of the album resonates much lighter. The background instrumentation remains the same as before, but it doesn’t feel as muddled. This allows for the emphasis to truly be on the vocal line. With this spotlight on the lyrics- the crowning moment of most Twenty-One Pilot’s selections- the audience can connect to the theme they are presenting. The themes throughout bounce back and forth between being very optimistic with accepting and persevering from the bad.
Songs like “Saturday,” “Good Day,” and “Mulberry Street” shed light on band’s genre shift. Prior to this record, listeners could expect a darker more edgy sound from the artist- even with the mixed approach to vocal lines. However, with this record, connecting to the lighter sound mentioned above, while utilizing an almost “less is more” technique, the band makes an intense stamp on Alternative-Pop music.
Throughout, we can still find moments of vocal alternation, rapped or spoken-word moments, as well as the traditional well-rounded singing . This variety connects to the characteristic foundation from the artist, which holds to the Twenty-One Pilots merit.
Portions of this record that stand out to me are the uses of instrumentals to create the background music present throughout. Each song on the album has its own point of view and sounds fairly different to the songs that surround it. This is difficult for Alternative music, for this genre influence sometimes leads to repetitive music. Twenty-One Pilots is able to include grooves that are unique, pure but evolutionary (and also progressive) to the band and still create a cohesive record.
This is an album that you can just put on in the background and be in a better mood because of it. Some may disagree with this, but I believe that this is some of the band’s best work yet. They are sticking with a sound they want to explore, while still delivering music their fans will adore.
I give this record a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
*”Scaled and Icy” was released on May 21st, 2021 through Fueled by Ramen LLC.