Fresh off the heels of their 2017 sophomore album 'okay.', UK-based alternative band As It Is is back at it again with their darkest and most creative project to date: The Great Depression.
The album concept was concieved before a song, melody or even lyrics were written. Just an aesthetic, message and a title: The Great Depression. And while okay. was considered one of the best pop-punk albums of 2017, the band had a very different idea for their third album. “One of the biggest mission statements was to really embrace being an alternative band,” says Minnesota-born lead vocalist Patty Walters.
That mission really shines through on lead single 'The Wounded World'. Gone are the poppy hooks and shimmering guitars of their previous album, as well as the emo-tinged, hopeless romantic lyrics of their debut. The listener is left with societally frustrated lyrics, riffy guitars and soaring melodies. Oh yeah, and tons of black eyeliner. Creating an homage to the sound of post-hardcore bands of yesteryear like Funeral For A Friend and Saosin, and the 'scene' aesthetic of 2008-MySpace, the new As It Is is clearly a different band than the one that wrote pop-punk anthems like "Hey Rachel" and "Dial Tones"
The Great Depression is a first and foremost a concept record, about the romanticisation of mental illness, political discourse, and other issues our society faces. Written from the perspective of musician The Poet, the album tells a story about his confrontation with death and his role in society. And while the story is fictional, the message is no less personal. "There’s a certain amount of guilt and responsibility that came from encouraging people to know that it’s okay not to be okay, to be vocal, to be unashamed" said Patty Walters in a conversation with Rock Sound Magazine. And that's the foundation of the album. To write a commentary on the state of the scene, both then and now. To ask questions rather than give answers.
While some people may be quick to write off As It Is as rip-offs of My Chemical Romance circa-2004, with their Black and Red Suits, dyed hair and eyeliner they clearly are more than confident in their own skin now. Writing an album that's both a tribute to and a call-out of the scene they grew up in, while creating their own aesthetic in an increasingly homogenous scene, and embracing their roots, the band is surprisingly in touch with their art and image.
Coming off a US run on the final Vans Warped Tour, an important mainstay in the pop-punk scene, and headed into their biggest UK headliner to date, there's no telling what's in store for these Brighton rockers once The Great Depression comes out.