Stay Ahead of the Weather - We Better Get Goin' If We're Gonna [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)

Stay Ahead of the Weather

We Better Get Goin' If We're Gonna [7-inch] (2010)

No Sleep

The Chicago-based band Stay Ahead of the Weather is somewhat of a "supergroup." And no, I'm not just talking about their facial hair. The band features Evan Weiss of Into It. Over It., Nick Wakim of Castevet (or CSTVT, if you prefer), Matt Jordan and Owen Mallon (though Native's Bobby Markos recorded bass on this EP). I don't know if Mallon has been in any other bands, but I feel bad not putting any qualifiers after his name. But I'm sure he's a super guy.

Anyways, the result of this collaboration isn't exactly what one might expect. We Better Get Goin' If We're Gonna is fairly straightforward pop-punk, only occasionally divulging into the noodly emo guitar licks that define Castevet's sound. Stylistically, it doesn't sound all that different from Into It. Over It.'s full-band tracks, although the production is improved. It's evident that Weiss has more talent around him here, too. When the band chooses to make things a little complex, it works extremely well. But the power in these songs lies in the hooks and the lyrics, not the technicality.

The EP runs just 12.5 minutes, but it's a great ride. Weiss has a real talent in his ability to combine a great story with enough hooks to keep things interesting. "Sorority Social Suicide" is a tale of "kitchen counter keg stands" and "mixing beer and fruit juice / for a cast of drunken dudes who tolerate you." In "Impressions & Impressing People", perhaps the defining song of the release, Weiss defiantly declares "You're not punk / and I'm telling everyone. / Save your breath / 'cause I never was one." It's a line that woke me up on my first run-through. Sometimes it's all too easy to tune out the lyrics of any song, but a little bit of extra concentration can pay off here.

If there's a downside to the EP, it's that the songs can run together somewhat. On first listen, a lot of it sounds the same. That hasn't really held up for me on subsequent plays. I listened to this a couple times when I first got it and then set it aside. But as time went on, I kept ending up with different little bits of songs stuck in my head. It was a grower for me–as much as a 12-minute 7" can be.

We Better Get Goin' If We're Gonna is a quality release and gives me plenty of hope that they will continue to put out great music in the future. Despite what most press regarding the band will tell you (including the first paragraph of this review), Stay Ahead of the Weather is not a supergroup, but rather just a great band that just happens to have some guys from other great bands in it. We Better Get Goin' If We're Gonna speaks for itself.