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  • 7. As It Is "The Great Depression"

    7. As It Is "The Great Depression"

    Patty Walters has had a hell of a year. Just this week, his collaborative effort with former YouTube pop-punk/hardcore comedian Jarrod Alonge and Red Handed Denial’s Lauren Babic -- the serious yet cinema-centric CrazyEightyEight -- dropped their full-length debut, “Burning Alive” (2018). “The Great Depression” (2018) dropped in August, As It Is’ third long player, coming just 18 months after their sophomore effort “okay.” (2017). Back in March, he had to play a tentpole show in Cardiff with his right arm in a sling and a host of doctors suggesting he do otherwise, hours before going under the knife to remove a malicious blood clot.

    But I’m here to tell you that As It Is, with “The Great Depression,” are the rightful heirs to the excessive-eyeliner-and-black-fingernails-emo throne in 2018, or whatever is left of that tattered kingdom. You can pass around comparisons to early Taking Back Sunday or “Black Parade”-era (2006) My Chemical Romance. They wouldn’t be without merit. “The Great Depression” is the most audacious effort by the band to date, moreso than anything ever attempted by TBS -- it might stand as Walter’s “Black Parade,” and while there’s no seismic shift here (there can’t be, we’ll keep talking about this, the environment is too oversaturated, an album cycle lifespan less than a week more often than not, too much noise, too much convenience, it’s too easy to just smash replay on ‘God’s Plan’ for the umpteenth time on your favorite Spotify playlist [I’m probably not talking about ‘you’ you, specifically, if you’re reading this, this is a universal ‘you,’ this is how we {again, universal ‘we’} consume music now, as an expectation, as an afterthought, fodder for reality television beefs]), no other band is making this kind of music with this much conceptual intention.

    It’s genuinely insane to me that bands such as The Story So Far, Real Friends, or even Senses Fail are still given shakes for pumping out the same old drivel album after album, exhausting and uninteresting third-wave emo where the lead singers keep getting friendzoned (much to their chagrin). Walters isn’t against tears -- he continues to see the disconnects in toxic masculinity and conversations around mental and emotional health, and sings about them often without elaborate metaphor -- but he’s not crying over bad dates or unfulfilled sexual desires. He’s serious enough about his subject matter that his co-opting of this mid-2000s aesthetic feels imperative to his cause, even going so far as to recruit Aaron Gillespie for ‘The Reaper,’ an anthem against suicide.

    All of this would feel like a laborious retread (of concepts, context, etc) if it wasn’t for the fact that As It Is actually *is* one of the freshest sounding pop-punk bands working the scene right now. On top of that, the production by Machine is immaculate, harkening back to some of his most imperative works of the mid-2000s, most specifically: Armor For Sleep’s “What To Do When You Are Dead,”, Every Time I Die’s “Gutter Phenomenon,” and Boys Night Out’s “Trainwreck” (all 2005). If there’s any justice in the canon, “The Great Depression” should live amongst these emo classics for years to come.