The latest band to take part in the late-summer/early-autumn emo album season is Into It. Over It., a band that straddles the line between pop-punk earnestness and indie rock self-seriousness more ably than most. ‘Intersections’ is record of transitions. Coming to crossroads, grappling with tough decisions to go down one road or another, knowing that once that choice is made, it cannot be unmade, and that other road will forever remain a mysterious path of could-have-beens.
Opener “New North-Side Air” captures this feeling of indecision perfectly. Evan Weiss earns a reputation of being kind of a thinking man’s pop-punker, defying his gradually advancing age but at the same time acknowledging its effects in a way many of his peers lack the willingness or maturity to do. He also sounds more confident than a lot of his more Kinsella-inclined colleagues; where they may brood quietly over a four minute passage punctuated solely by twinkling guitars and perhaps the occasional keyboard melody, Weiss allows himself to build up to surprising levels of volume and aggression.
“Spinning Thread” picks up from there, starting with deceptively pounding drums before leading into blissfully meandering guitar lines and passive-before-aggressive lyrics about being “god damn desperate” and “fucking begging you.” It’s difficult to say if he’s more sad than angry, or vice-versa, but the ambivalence is charming and dynamic. “A Curse Worth Believing” begins with angelic bell tones clashing with angsty, droning feedback, segueing into a shuffling rhythm while Weiss delivers an ode to an absent former lover that doesn’t let up until it branches off into some serene vocal harmonies.
The album ebbs and flows from the surging on “Spatial Exploration” to the withdrawn “The Shaking of Leaves,” until we get to “Upstate Blues,” which trades off energy and submission with ease, never sacrificing hooks for a second. Album closer “Contractual Obligations” inflates the album to some impressive heights, with its 6+ minute running time fulfilling a kind of reprise to all the conflicting themes touched upon in earlier songs before concluding with intoxicating vocal rounds that, rather than resolving all the conflicting strands in his head into a single neat theme, conflates them into serene harmony, all working together to make a beautifully schizophrenic mosaic of emotion.
‘Intersections’ is IIOI’s best work yet, being much more cohesive as a unit while touching on themes of indecision and listlessness, further highlighting the inner conflict of moving on. Where previous releases were pure, unadulterated catharsis based on whatever was going through Weiss’ mind at the time, this album seems like he’s had more time to reflect on what it all means in context, and it’s a much more mature, fully-developed effort as a result, and it’s easy to see why the band is at the forefront of the new wave of emo right now.
Recommended Tracks: New North-Side Air, A Curse Worth Believing, Upstate Blues, Contractual Obligations