Album Review: AS IT IS ‘OKAY.’

M. Thewlis

If you like pop punk, super emotional lyrics, and musical talent that doesn’t let down, I may have just found the perfect band for you. Allow me to introduce you to As It Is, a five-piece pop punk group from Brighton, England. The band consists of Patty Walters (lead vocals); whom you may recognize from YouTube, Ben Biss (vocals/rhythm guitar), Andy Westhead (lead guitar), Alistair Testo (bassist) and Patrick Foley (drums). The group has been around since 2012, but hasn’t made a big splash in the scene until their label debut of 2015. Since then, they’ve been pumping out tracks that refuse to be anything less than incredible – and their latest album is proof of their dedication.

On January 20th, As It Is released their sophomore album, titled ‘Okay., which had been highly anticipated by fans since the album’s teaser last year. The first half of the album is upbeat and definitely puts the “pop” in pop punk. The opening track, Pretty Little Distance, really is the song that packs a punch, and is easily the strongest one on the album. The vibes are reminiscent of an old-timey, very retro music act. If you say that you don’t want to jump up and sing along with frontman, Patty Walters while listening to this song, then I’m pretty sure you’re not a living human.

The following song, titled Okay, undeniably is an anthem for the pop punk kids going through rough times, and also has strength to it. Of course, it makes sense to represent the album with this song, as expressed through both album and track haring the same name. Okay was also the first song to be released as a single by the band’s record label, Fearless Records, and gave us a taste of what to expect from As It Is’ latest piece of work. Albeit, the album is fairly predictable in terms of tones and beats, but the group manages to pull it off so well that it really doesn’t matter. However, the predictability of the album takes a swerve to the left once you hit the mid point of the album.

No Way Out, one of my personal favourites on the album, shows As It Is’ willingness to step out of their comfort zone – and thank god they did, because it works. The song takes a darker vibe, with a much more personal and emotional feeling to it. It sets the tone for the next few songs, and represents the sudden shift from the first half of the album, poppy and bubblier, to the heavier undertones the rest of the tracks will hold. Although, No Way Out is not huge in contrast to the songs that played before it, the contrast becomes a lot more apparent as you keep listening, such as the next song, Soap, which had deeper and slower tones than the track previous. However, when you hit Austen, it’s a sudden slam of heavy emotions. And yet, somehow, it fits so perfectly with the bands sound and image.

The album returns to a more so upbeat vibe for the songs Until I Return and The Coast Is Where Home Is, which kind of brings the album full circle. Okay. is such a fun album, that it’s almost unfortunate its last track Still Remembering, but it’s also very refreshing to hear a slow song like that after all the power songs that have represented the album thus far. Still Remembering, which is also a personal favourite, is maybe one of the most emotional songs on the album, reflecting on lost loves and harboured emotions. Don’t say I didn’t warn you when you start tearing up at it.

As It Is has managed to do something that I don’t see very often – they’ve managed to take an album and smoothly transition it from upbeat and bubbly to a more real and “gritty” tone. Okay. is one of the best pop punk albums that I’ve heard in a while, with the vocals and instrumentals complimenting each other in such a way that it delivers this incredible polished product. Overall, it’s just really good music. It’s youthful, powerful, and genuine. If you’d like to do one good thing for yourself this year, I suggest you treat yourself to a copy of Okay. As It Is has definitely returned to the scene with a punch, and they’ve shown that they’re a force to keep an eye on.

Catch As It Is on their North American tour this Spring w/ Roam & Greyscale!! Dates can be found here!

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