Album Review | Into It. Over It. – ‘Intersections’
While it should come as no surprise that Intersections is a tender and intimate album, Evan Weiss and Nick Wakim have managed to create a richer tapestry of sounds than on previous albums by taking a new approach to song writing.
In a recent interview with Spin magazine Weiss described how in order to become more creative in their writing both himself and Wakim stripped back their set up, loosing guitar picks and playing with fingers – or in Wakim’s case – removing cymbals and drums from his kit, while at the same time being less rigid in their attempts to record the perfect take for each track. While I wouldn’t claim that previous Into It. Over It. albums are sound click-track perfect, there is definitely a slackness and relaxed sonic feeling to Intersections that somehow seems to add credence to Evan’s soft vocals and narrative style.
Intersections is an album that really wants to be explored, offering new experiences on each of your first dozen or so listens. Opening track ‘New North-Side Air’ sees the band trekking familiar emo territories before a beautiful crescendo in the mid-section hints at some of the heavier pop sensibilities and a development in melody writing that helps to separate Evan Weiss from many of his piers as a songwriter. These elements are developed further in ‘Spinning Thread’ as a more post-rock sound starts to emerge with stuttering guitars and sharp rhythmic punctuations; setting a clear tonal change from the opener. This is something that’s found throughout Intersections, keeping the listener guessing which directions the ideas in each track will take.
On headphones, for example, tracks like ‘Obsessive Compulsive Distraction’ casually amble into your headspace before the depth of the ideas becomes realised as the track progresses. Starting with a simple guitar line that plays throughout, the track develops beautifully with immense layering and constantly shifting vocals melodies, sitting strongly over Wakim’s laid back but busy drum lines; it’s a fully realised example of what Into It. Over It. are capable of doing in three and a half minutes.
On the other hand ‘A Curse Worth Believing’ is a track of bare faced simplicities, and the simple vocal hooks of “fucking careless” and “fucking selfish” work to settle you before a slightly more manic vocal backing communicates a real sense of distress and confusion that the harmonies leave behind. For all that Pantera’s ‘Fucking Hostile’ said about mid-nineties American metal when compared to the much of the dross, you could almost apply the same analysis to ‘A Curse…’ to the current state of emo, or whatever you want to call it, and that’s that there are few bands who, like Into It. Over It., are able to develop their ideas to sound like more than the sum of their parts. Meaning, while we all know we are listening to emo, in this case it is emo that excels for a variety of reasons that make it transcend the usual, ‘woe-is-me’ bullshit. On occasions like ‘A Curse Worth Believing’ juxtaposing an uplifting melody with fraught lyrics works to create a tension, whereas with ‘Obsessive Compulsive Distraction’ the instrumentation takes the track to another level. Thankfully moments like this are littered throughout the album.
One of the albums most straight laced tracks, ‘A Pair of Matching Taxi Rides’, highlights some of the work both Weiss and Wakim have done as musicians to hone their skills, with Wakim’s smart and sharp drumming particularly hitting home across the track. While Weiss’ desire to constantly find new guitar tones and sounds is a constant and brilliant surprise. This is an album that really should be applauded for its beauty all the way through. Never coming across as cheap, Weiss isn’t afraid to rework a melody two or three times in a track, or to shift the melodies from instrument to instrument, adding to the sense of familiarity and ease at which you can enjoy this collection of songs.