Monday, September 19, 2011

Album Review: Into It. Over It - Proper

Over the past three or four years, there has been no artist as devoted to concepts (except possibly Casey Crescenzo) as Evan Weiss of Into It. Over It. From 52 Weeks, a massive project that involved releasing a new song every week for a year, to Twelve Towns, a collection of splits that were based off twelve different cities and the experiences that Weiss had in those towns, to IIOI/KOJI, where Weiss wrote about five Chicago neighborhoods, Into It. Over It had never released an actual cohesive full-length release. Proper is the release that Into It. Over It fans have been waiting years for, and the amount of work put into it is easily noticed. The instrumentals are more polished, the hooks are stronger, and Weiss officially emerges as a superstar in the emo/indie/pop-punk scene, and a man capable of crafting brilliant releases in any form.

The major difference between Proper and Weiss' previous recordings as Into It. Over It is the amount of time put into the recording process of the album. As the recording time has grown, both the sound and the quality of the content has been proportionate. Growing from three hours a song on 52 Weeks to the fifteen long days put into the eleven songs of Proper definitely helped create the extremely slick sound found in songs like "Discretion & Depressing People", where the guitar, bass, and drums are perfectly mixed and the buildups move at the perfect pace. Helping bring this album up to the next level is Ed Rose, producer extraordinaire, who previously worked with Houston Calls, Motion City Soundtrack, and The Get Up Kids. His hand is easily heard throughout the record, as he is as important to the refined sound of Proper as the recording time.

One of Weiss' biggest strengths is his ability to take many different sounds and stick it into his own music. Pop-punk, 90's emo, and indie-rock are merged together in different amounts to create a wide variety of tunes that don't run together. "P R O P E R" and "Discretion & Depressing People" stick closer to the pop-punk side of the Into It. Over It spectrum, with crushing drums courtesy of Stay Ahead Of The Weather/CSTVT singer/guitarist Nick Wakim as well as some of the best hooks heard in Into It. Over It songs to date. "Fortunate Friends" and "Where Your Nights Often End" encompass techniques heard in 90's emo, while adding their modern touch. The former can be thought of Into It. Over It's version of Transit's "Take What You Can", indicating that the two excellent groups know exactly what sounds great, as both songs are among the best in each band's catalog.

However, the aforementioned "Where Your Nights Often End" takes hands down the prize for the best track on the record and in Evan Weiss' discography. The "ballad" of the album, Weiss has never sung more smoothly and passionately, while the twinkling guitar riffs and snare taps bring the listener back to the best of the emo movement. This flawless song symbolizes the end of the transformation of Weiss' lo-fi "bedroom recordings" to gorgeous, rich sounding masterpieces.

The one critique of Into It. Over It's newfound accent on recording quality may be the loss of the personal feeling that his former records have given. However, Weiss' personality along with his introspective and experiential lyrics let Proper hit closer to home than the rest of his discography. The enhanced recordings allow the listener to engulf his or her self in Weiss' stories and messages. "The Frames That Used To Greet Me" is a return to the simple acoustic guitar found in much of 52 Weeks, and the recording feels out of place among the rest of the tracks. However, it's a simple reminder that Weiss knows that his imperfections brought him into the spotlight, and Proper is the key that will lock him in indie immortality.


Track List:
1. Embracing Facts
2. Discretion & Depressing People
3. Fortunate Friends
4. No Good Before Noon
5. Write It Right
6. Midnight: Carroll Street
7. Connecticut Steps
8. Staring At The Ceiling
9. An Evening With Ramsey Beyer
10. Where Your Nights Often End
11. P R O P E R
12. The Frames That Used To Greet Me

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