Friday, September 27, 2013

Evan Weiss Is Into It Over It

Into It. Over It.
With three full-length albums and scores of cassettes, splits and EPs, it's only natural that Evan Weiss would want to push his sonic reach with his new album Intersections. He has a long history of pushing himself as a songwriter, whether he is working on his own with Into It. Over It. (IIOI) or playing along with other bands like Their/They're/There and Pet Symmetry.

He even laid out ground rules with drummer Nick Wakim when they started working on it. They didn't want to make an album that sounded like anything else they've put out. It's more fun banging out new.

“A lot of this album is uncharted territory and I think you can hear the nervous excitement on this recording,” said Weiss. "There were a lot of happy accidents on this album."

Many people will agree with that. You cut right down to No Amount Of Sound, and you'll immediately understand why this brutally honest songwriter is a favorite around the underground circuit. His delivery is perfect too, laying it out as it ought to be laid out. It's raw and unpretentious.

What's even more real about that track is how Wakim lays out the percussion. It matches Weiss in creating this feeling of spontaneity, both of them slowly banging along with uncertain measure.

Spinning Thread feels like that too. It's a heartbreak that spirals around the album's overarching theme of relationships that intersect and, sometimes, come crashing down despite our best efforts. It's confused, emotional and well-spun desperation.

Spinning Thread is a plea, which is arguably what Weiss does best. The pain of it matches some of the angst in the opener New North-Side Air. While it's not my favorite track in terms of the arrangement, the lyrics are penetrating as Weiss tells his story about sleepless nights. He lays awake in worry over the monotony of life and approaching that middle age marker.

This is also what is so striking about the album. There is a considerable amount of confession in Intersections. He purposefully pulled in tiny details of his life and double meanings that most people could never guess at or even appreciate on the first pass.

“All of our records are almost hyper-personal to a fault and I’ve been trying to keep it that way since the beginning,” he says. 

But that is one of the reasons I think No Amount Of Sound is the better introduction. That track and Your Antique Organ are so easy to relate to a contemplative confessional that makes you think, yeah, it feels like that. Then again, I just might be more drawn to his early work that leaned more on acoustics like these track tend to do.

All in all, if there are any surprises, the biggest seems to be how much influence Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine) had in the production. His fingerprints account for the texture and, more than that, this unheard whisper that kept telling Weiss to try this or that in the studio. This might even account for some of the mistakes, which everyone wanted to leave in to add a stamp of character.

Weiss has even said that he sometimes feels like a square peg in a round hole, and he was able to capture some of that this time around. Not only does everybody feel like that sometimes, it's part of what drives him to transcend boundaries without ever getting bored.

Intersections By Into It. Over It. Transcends 5.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

There are a handful of tracks on this album that I'll listen to over and over again, but I can't really say that about every track on this one. Mostly, I found listening to the album straight through reduces some of the novelty that my favorite tracks seem to have on their own. It might be worthwhile to try individual tracks first.

Intersections by Into It. Over It can be found on Amazon. You can also download it from iTunes to order a physical edition from Barnes & Noble (the vinyl edition is something special with an amazingly large lattice-like die cut). Into It. Over It. will be touring the United States through October before heading to Japan, the United Kingdom and Europe.
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