Oklahoma Car Crash - I Know Better Now (Cover Artwork)

Oklahoma Car Crash

I Know Better Now (2014)

Say-10 Records

The new Oklahoma Car Crash EP, I Know Better Now, is surprising. It is far from folk punk, the style frontman Nathaniel Brown normally plays. The album starts out with a more polished sound than previous albums. The first song starts out with a build-up, cutting quickly to a rockin electric sound. The sound of the tracks read much more like an upbeat punk album. Some songs, like "Bad for Anyone" even graze the vein of old school pop punk. I Know Better Now touches upon a wide range of genres, making it interesting for listeners.

Parts of the album reach momentarily into a state of melancholy, which may be a perceptible influence of producer Dan ABH of The Lab in Alexandria. But perhaps the pains of becoming an adult are more to blame for this darker quality of music. The lyrics in "Blue Eyes, Blue Water" read "I still feel this every day, and I'm doing what I can to not float away." This song is great because the allusions to water, sinking, and drowning give listeners the same distinct feeling of claustrophobia they would experience from the pressures of everyday life. Keeping grounded is one of those difficult life skills your school instructors didn't tell you how to accomplish.

What better follow-up to "Blue Eyes, Blue Water" than "White Wine"? The subject matter of the former song may be enough to drive one to drink. This song is very nostalgic, taking the artist and the listener "back to a better place and time" (when they were younger). However, when the lyrics discuss awareness of mortality in the form of smoking cigarettes, the time-traveling experience is jolted back to the present. At this point in the album, the subject matter could take a dive into a pit of despair, but instead, the music makes a wave-like motion into the lyrics "I Know Better Now." While the music and sentiment remain upbeat, the phrase almost comes as a question.

"Mountainside", properly titled, is a mountain-music style acoustic track would be great to listen to on a summer night in your car, on your porch, or next to a bonfire. The song's imagery has a dreamy quality, alluding to nature, love, and night shadows. In several Oklahoma Car Crash songs, there are undertones of pain and panic which come from both adulthood and traveling, which makes sense because Brown tours a massive amount. The album doesn't end upon this sleepy note, however.

The last track, "Father", literally "wakes you" with a fast-paced, pop-punk-y intro. The urgency in the speed of the song and intensity of the background vocals bring to light the serious nature of the song. This composition following the acoustic track was an excellent choice. "Father" speeds by quickly, and leaves the listener not only wondering what the hell just happened, but also wanting more. The hard work that went into creating this album is extremely visible, and continues to intrigue me after numerous listens.