Into It. Over It.

Twelve Towns

Written by: TL on 04/09/2011 14:20:42

With his Into It. Over It. project, singer/multi-instrumentalist Evan Weiss (ex-bassist in Damiera) has already tested a couple of untraditional formats for recording and releasing music. In 2007 he recorded one song a week, eventually releasing them all on the double album "52 Weeks" and spanning 2009 and 2010 he wrote twelve songs about twelve different towns, releasing them on six split-EP's with various other bands, two of which we've reviewed (1, 2). Despite this, Weiss has yet to put out what he considers his debut LP proper - which we know because he's titled it "Proper", and while it doesn't drop for a few more weeks (September 27th), I'm warming up for it with a review of the "Twelve Towns" compilation, which - you guessed it - features all twelve songs from the splits mentioned earlier.

In case you're not familiar with Into It. Over It though, I guess it serves to explain that his music is a low-fi helping of emo/punk-rock/singer-songwriter, varying between songs that sound like acoustic Death Cab For Cutie, songs that have the mathy indie/emo sound of your average Count Your Lucky Stars band and songs that are angrier, more up-tempo, raw punk-rock. Common for them all is that they all feature Weiss' strained singing and down-to-earth lyrics, the latter of which showcase his unique talent for bringing seemingly trivial stories to life and placing them in a sentimental light.

The cool thing about "Twelve Towns" is that while it is sort of a compilation, it still gives Into It. Over It. the benefit of the album format: Namely that you get more than just a couple of songs, to get a feel for Weiss's personality and various styles. On the splits, I felt that two songs were too little to really appreciate as a body of work, and on "52 Weeks" the best impressions easily drowned in the vast mass of material. "Twelve Towns" gets the balance right, as you can survey both noiser, electric punk rock songs like "Brenham, TX", "Orlando, FL" or "Summerville, SC" and quiter offerings like "August, GA", "Cambridge, MA" and "Pontiac, MI", while appreciating the lyrical content of each along the way. As for highlights, in the louder department "Brenham, TX" is probably the catchiest song on the record, sporting a simple yet very easily recognisable opening riff. The more subtle songs - like "Buffalo, NY", which promises to show a girl a good time if she will accept a date, or "Pontiac, MI", which is a weary song about sleeping on a girl's couch - seem to make even stronger impressions though. Yet then there's also a song like "Portland, OR", which stands out for the sort of indignant anger in the story about seeing a fine girl and then finding out that she's a bit of a bitch.

As you can see from those brief glimpses into the record's content matter, it's not that Weiss is treading profoundly deep water here, yet these relatively straight-forward narratives are as much the strength of his songs as they are the weakness. They imbue the music with an instant feeling of authenticity, as you can mostly see yourself right there in the same situation as Weiss in many of the songs. On the flipside however, they also keep the music severely grounded, meaning that the glimpses of more intense emotions are few and seemingly far in between. This makes a record like "Twelve Towns" an almost chronically relaxed album, even in the more punk songs, which serves best as something to let your attention drift away in, not as something that sweeps you up in it completely, or grabs hold of you from end to end. That being said, it's very hard to not be sympathetic towards Into It. Over It. and the music of Weiss, just as it's hard to not also feel like "Twelve Town" is making you look a bit forward to "Proper".

Download: Brenham, TX; Buffalo, NY; Pontiac, MI; Portland, OR
For The Fans Of: Everyone Everywhere, Tigers Jaw, Paper The Operator, Death Cab For Cutie

Release Date 09.08.2011
Top Shelf Records

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