As It Is - okay.

Review by Dom Vigil

If As It Is weren’t already on your radar, then they’re about to become your new favorite pop-punk band. With their new album, okay., the Brighton, UK group have created eleven emotionally vulnerable, high energy and memorable tracks that will further cement them as one of 2017’s bands to watch. Not only will okay. make you wish it was summer already, but you’re bound to walk away from this album with at least one song (if not many) stuck in your head.

Kicking things off is the high energy and catchy as hell opener, “Pretty Little Distance,” and by the time it comes to an end, they’ll have you singing along. From “Pretty Little Distance,” things transition easily into the album’s title track, which really drives home the overall message of okay. Musically, the song remains high energy thanks to a strong rhythm section, but really expands when it comes to the gorgeous vocal harmonies and the massive chorus. What really makes “Okay” stand out though are the emotional lyrics. Lines like, “I don’t think that I’m okay” are sung with hopefulness, reminding listeners that it’s okay not to be okay. As the album progresses, this theme of finding one’s place in the world and being unsure of where you’re going in life can be found in almost every track, but each song is delivered with a sliver of hope that makes these would-be melodramatic songs an anthem for anyone who feels lost - a reminder that you’re not alone.

As okay. progresses, the honest and emotional lyricism proves to be the driving force behind each track again and again. Each song on the album feels incredibly personal, but still easy to connect with. Even songs like “Hey Rachel,” which addresses a specific person, are universal to any listener who has ever gone through a rough breakup. The following “Patchwork Love” is a little less specific and incredibly easy to relate to, telling the story about moving on from someone you used to love. Much like “Okay,” this track takes on a surprisingly optimistic tone about cherishing your time with someone, rather than becoming bitter when it’s over.  

And just when you begin to think that As It Is might be a one-trick pony, things then flow easily into the much slower song, “Curtains Close,” proving that these guys are capable of more than just high energy anthems. Next comes “No Way Out,” which features an emotional spoken word bridge and “Soap,” which takes on a darker tone than the rest of the album, giving it some more much needed diversity and proving yet again that As It Is are capable of anything. The same tone follows in “Austen,” which hosts a big chorus, but still feels a bit heavier and more emotional.

Where the first half of the album is very bright and optimistic, it seems that the second half of okay. dives deeper into some darker emotions and a feeling of despair. But thankfully, As It Is haven’t forgotten the driving force behind the album, which is a silver lining and a feeling of optimism despite heartbreak and hardships. “Until I Return” is where things turn around again, echoing “Okay” in lines like “I promise I’ll fight but I can’t promise that I’ll be fine.” The next track, “The Coast Is Where Home Is” is bound to get stuck in your head, but what really resonates is the final acoustic track, “Still Remembering.” Similar to “Patchwork Love,” it ties in the theme of okay. nicely, leaving things on a high, hopeful note.

Easily the strongest aspect of okay. is the emotional vulnerability in each song. These eleven tracks assure listeners that they’re not alone and are easily some of the band’s best work to date. Simply driving the message home are pounding drums, catchy as hell guitar riffs and spectacular vocal melodies. As It Is are bound to establish themselves as one of this year’s best pop-punk bands with this brave new album.

Rating: 5/5

Listen to "Pretty Little Distance" or "Okay"