Released Sept. 24th on Triple Crown Records
If The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die represent a possible revival of the late-90s emo sound, then surely Into It. Over It. represents another strain of the same resurgence. But where TWIABP’s plethora of members contributes to it sounding like a beautiful mess, Into It. Over It.—the quasi-solo project of prolific Chicago musician Evan Weiss—has a much more deliberate, intentionally-crafted sound. Where TWIABP would’ve been right at home on Jade Tree’s Emo Diaries compilations, IIOI would’ve been a good fit for Vagrant Records’ Another Year on the Streets series.
My first exposure to Into It. Over It. was seeing them open for Saves the Day on my birthday, and there was something about the band’s sound that was instantly familiar, as if I’d heard their music before and liked it for years. That’s why I picked up Intersections, and though I still can’t put my finger on exactly which acts they remind me of there are a few names that spring to mind including Braid, Death Cab for Cutie, Hey Mercedes, and Hot Rod Circuit (there are hints of The Get Up Kids here too). If I had to pick some discs from my library that Intersections sounds most like, it would be Death Cab’s Transatlanticism crossed with Braid’s 2011 reunion EP Closer to Closed. Weiss’ voice falls somewhere on the spectrum between Braid’s Bob Nanna and Motion City Soundtrack’s Justin Pierre during some of MCS’s mellower numbers.
Weiss, it turns out, is an interesting guy. He’s started numerous bands, immersed himself in the Midwestern indie scene, lived in a van for a while, played numerous parties and basement shows, and spent 2007 writing a song each week for what eventually became Into It. Over It.’s 2009 debut, 52 Weeks. Intersections began as a concept album about different street intersections in Chicago, as reflected in the album’s artwork which includes embossed and reflective maps of the city’s street layout and photos of numerous roadways, the lyrics overlayed in reflective transparent ink which is maddening to read…the packaging alone recalls the geographical obsessiveness of oh-so-many ’90s midwestern indie and emo rockers. However, as the album progressed the concept shifted, and Weiss began to write about “intersections” in his own life, the points where the past intersects with and impacts the present.
Of course, for Weiss, location plays a big role in telling those stories. He sings about breathing “new north-side air”, “the reckless lipstick and your your south Philly neighbors”, about how “small towns make for bigger states while new ethics make new debates”, and (in standout “Upstate Blues”) how “they could paint this room all cold and grey like New York and you”. There’s an autumnal feel to the album, and a vibe of reflection that comes from a guy about to hit 30 and looking at those around him as “a whole community of people, never sleeping, only drinking and alone. They soak their twenties into tens. It’s like their twenties never end.”
As I’ve been spinning Intersections more and more this week to fairly review it, I’ve found myself appreciating its heartwarming melodies and colorful storytelling more and more. If you’re a fan of late-’90s midwestern emo and indie rock, I recommend checking it out. Start with “Spinning Thread” and then try “Spatial Exploration”, “Upstate Blues”, and “Obsessive Compulsive Distraction”. That should prime you to want to give the whole thing a listen.