By Van Williams, Contributor
[Triple Crown; 2016]
Key Tracks: “Open Casket,” “No EQ,” “Who You Are Does Not Equal Where You Are”
Evan Weiss is no stranger to emo music. He’s built up quite the reputation for himself in the emo revival scene of the 2010s with Into It. Over It., Pet Symmetry and Their/ They’re/ There, a project he shares with drummer (and emo legend) Mike Kinsella. In 2016, Weiss is back with Into It. Over It’s. third full length release, Standards. The record was written predominantly in 2015 in complete isolation in a Vermont cabin.
The album starts off with one of its strongest tracks, “Open Casket,” which is in a new vein for Weiss, this soft acoustic track has an almost folky twang to it that gives the listener a sound they might not be used to from Weiss. The song tackles the relationship between Weiss and everyone who grew up with, and the paths they have chosen that are different than his own. After this track, he gets back to his roots with the twinkly guitar riffs and syncopated basslines that fans have come to expect from Into It. Over It. The third track on the record, “No EQ,” is definitely a highlight, featuring strong, smooth vocals that soar over the gorgeous instrumentation. This is no surprise, seeing as it was released as the first single from the record.
Approaching the middle of the album, the audience is in for a new surprise. The track “Your Lasting Image” sounds more like something that would have been on Death Cab For Cutie’s Plans than an IIOI song. The track opens and closes almost as quietly as it started, without ever feeling weak or with a moment of uncertainty. “Who You Are Does Not Equal Where You Are”, the tenth track, is odd, but does not find Weiss out of his comfort zone. Twinkly guitar riffs echo in the background, drums in odd time signatures move the song forward, and Weiss just pours the vocals on top. “The Circles Of The Same Ideas,” is the record’s triumphant finale – an upbeat acoustic track with gorgeous background vocals, and strong lyrics. “It’s the circle of the same ideas / like discussing the weather,” Weiss sings, while soft bells chime in the background, accompanied by a light string section that leaves the audience feeling a full feeling in the chest.
Standards shouldn’t come as a surprise for most fans of Into It. Over It., or Evan Weiss’s work in other projects, but the songwriting and instrumentation is strong enough to stand on its own. This is an album that isn’t limited to one scene or genre, and will be talked about and celebrated for years to come.