Forming in 2012 and becoming the first UK signing to Fearless Records a mere two years later is a feat in itself. But four prolific EPs later and As It Is have found themselves in a clear and constant stage of musical maturity worthy of writing and recording a full-length. True to its title, their self-deprecating debut ‘Never Happy, Ever After’ spans the spectrum between indifference and resentment at the hands of emotional turmoil.
Bursting with energetic pop-punk from the get-go, ‘Speak Soft’ opens with a contagious riff and even catchier lyrics. “Why should I stick around when all I do is let you down?” stands as the album’s first testament to their consistent lyrical quality. “We’re the kids who were dead inside, but we’re the ones who feel alive,” chants the determined ‘Cheap Shots & Setbacks’, providing a perfect outlet for teen frustration and showing As It Is have fully deserved the hype of late.
‘Drowning Deep In Doubt’ whispers for help, while lead single ‘Dial Tones’ screams for it, forging an anthem of giving up with an inherently pop-punk optimistic melody. The contrast of cleans and screams depicts an emotional conflict of interest throughout the record, as Patty Walters and Benjamin Biss serenade ‘Concrete’ and ‘Sorry’ with their confrontational dialogue of conflicting melodic cleans and harsh shouts. Alluding to the band’s longevity, ‘Concrete’ regenerates the empowering Funeral For A Friend-esque riffs the scene has sorely missed.
Emphatically pouring their hearts out through acoustic efforts ‘My Oceans Were Lakes’ and ‘Silence (Pretending’s So Comfortable)’, As It Is possess a versatility capable of breaking hearts and mending them simultaneously. Winning the award for the most pop punk track title, ‘You, The Room And The Devil On Your Shoulder’ seductively whispers right up to the mic, while ‘Turn Back To Me’ resigns itself to responsibility for the past with lyrics like “my mind’s a frightening and lonely place I can’t escape at night.”
As relatable as they come, As It Is demonstrate a lyrical capability that transcends eloquence, their writing is simply loaded with impeccable timing and an eye for realism. “I can’t help the way my mind is hard-wired to hate myself”, cries the self-loathing ‘Can’t Save Myself’, acutely defining the record’s overall ethos – accept them As It Is, they won’t change for anyone.
Defiant in its emotional defeat, ‘Never Happy, Ever After’ presents the next generation of pop punk in all its beautifully broken multi-faceted glory, telling it As It Is.
’Never Happy, Ever After’ by As It Is is out now on Fearless Records.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)