The third EP from transatlantic pop-punk lot As It Is, This Mind Of Mine was a crowdfunded effort. The band are no stranger to self-releases, but after putting their ideas onto Kickstarter, received a wave of support that they hadn’t previously anticipated and put it all into crafting these four tracks. Does This Mind Of Mine stand up as worthy of that support?
To the band’s ever-growing fanbase, probably yes. It’s a standard pop-punk record; lots of bounce, plenty of emotion, cheeky lyrics. And it does work – the dual vocal approach of British guitarist/vocalist Benjamin Biss and Minnesotan Patty Walters lends itself to quite a distinctive sound, even if, in truth, nothing else about the record really does. Opener ‘Bitter Broken Me’ proceeds to tick all the boxes – it’s well-produced, with some playful riffs and that distinctive vocal split. ‘Horoscopes’ carries on this trend, but with some good woahs in the chorus and some decent bass. ‘Can’t Save Myself’ has a really explosive chorus, and ‘Relive This Story’ is your typical slow-burner, with more than just a hint of influence from Taking Back Sunday. It’s all good, well-structured and poised to meet your expectations – it sadly just doesn’t smash them.
However, As It Is do stand apart on one aspect – their lyrics. There’s a gleeful honesty that abounds throughout This Mind Of Mine, tackling personal demons and difficult topics. It’s not your typical mush about girls, and at times, it’s very clever indeed. In ‘Can’t Save Myself’, there’s this fantastic bit in the verse that goes “And as I’ve aged the only thing I think has changed / is that the demons have moved from under my bed / into the inner depths of my head,” and that’s merely one such gem. Given time, As It Is may well have the lyrical prowess to challenge verbose pop-punk predecessors like Fall Out Boy.
The issue is that As It Is haven’t really had time to grow – rather than focusing on EPs, their next effort should be a debut full-length, which will give them the opportunity to develop a few of the aspects here and experiment a little more. With every step forward, As It Is reveal themselves as a band with promise – the final product’s just not quite there yet.
3 out of 5 high fives!