Into It. Over It. - Figure (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Into It. Over It.

Figure (2020)

triple crown records

Evan Weiss has really done some amazing things with Into It. Over It., with the act not just being a solo run with a guitar, but a full band that's influenced and also helped guide production for Midwest emo bands like Annabel. In fact, when you weigh in similar sounds such as Koji and a few others, IIOI is considered as an essential band for last decade's emo revival. And make no mistake, just like American Football, whether you like the evolution or not, things have changed and come Figure, Weiss puts out one of the band's more accessible records to date.

Now, I admit it could have been a bit more dynamic per the likes of Proper but I think this album focuses on simplicity being the key. Tracks such as the breezy "A Light in the Trees" has that ballad-driven Oso Oso feel and while I usually don't mention closers so early in a review, you kind of get the tone as it harkens back to Weiss' songs like "No Good Before Noon". Notably, it feels like Triple Crown Records' signature sound these days and also, is a great snapshot on how IIOI wanted to go a more melodic route.

It's all about tight drumming, melodic keys, catchy hooks and singalong choruses, per songs like "Brushstrokes", "We Prefer Indoors" and "Perfect Penmanship" which doesn't reinvent the wheel that much but still feels a bit more college-radio friendly. Even "Hollow Halos" has that new era American Football sound to it and it's no surprise given how close Weiss is tied to the essence of that band, professionally and personally with Mike Kinsella. Honestly, their last record feels like a brother to IIOI here so I admit it could get a tad boring. "A Lyric In My Head I Haven't Thought of Yet" is a prime example of this, and it's not that these are bad songs -- I just expected something more muddy and dirty.

After all, that aggression works so well on "Courtesy Greetings" which has buzzy, distorted guitars, and a more aggressive mid-tempo approach that easily stands out as the top track on the record. And ultimately, I think that's the one flaw I'd find: just missing out that balance. "Living Up To Let You Down" sums it up best because it feels like a Kelly Clarkson rhythm more than something I'd expect from IIOI, even at their most experimental, and I'm left wondering if pop-rock songs like these should have had louder bangers littered over the album to paint a better duality. But all in all, it's another commendable effort from Weiss waxing on about life and love, and the changes we're all enduring in these dire times. I can tell it would have had more impact for me if some of the fat were trimmed, or if it were split into two EPs, but hey... IIOI not at their best is still quite better than many bands hitting their heights these days, especially in the indie/emo genre.