Their 2015 debut Never Happy, Ever After was what put them on the map but okay. might just make them the go-to place for pop punk music this year. Emphasising the ‘pop’ over the ‘punk’, this new album imaginatively re-creates a time when friends hung out in diners wearing polka dot dresses and letterman jackets, and white picket fences were the house craze. All these little quirks including their artwork and merchandise that surround the release of okay. make the overall experience of the album that much more inclusive and personal.
Album opener ‘Pretty Little Distance’ is a more layered track than upon first glance. “Ain’t life swell from a pretty little distance? / I don’t wanna leave / I don’t wanna stay.” Which some might hear a very poppy chorus, is really a track about not enjoying your reality so you create your own where everything is better. Title track Okay is a true anthem and clearly the beating heart of the entire album. The lyrics “I don’t think that I’m okay” are clearly going to be the loudest line of any live set. ‘Hey Rachel’, an apology letter in essence, to what extent feels too truthful to not be a personal experience of any member of the band, but sounds just as happy as you’d expect from the band even though the subject is slightly sad.
Soap & Austen both sound like nothing else on the album, Soap has inklings of Pierce The Veil’s trademark guitar sound, and becomes one of the most vocally aggressive tracks As It Is have maybe ever created. While Austen starts off with some mean guitar chugging, it flips back into the expected As It Is sound, and not a Deftones cover, which could have been plausible given how the first few seconds sounded. There are some clear musical experiments from the band, if they were going to do anything slightly off centre, there was no better time than their sophomore album to diverse their sound.
It’s easy to get lost on some pop-punk albums within tracks that all sound slightly similar, okay. couldn’t be more opposite. As It Is have gone to town making their sound much more than just a one (genre) trick pony and instead they’ve created a whole world to surround their new album. They’ve put their up’s and down’s into it and when the tracks sound like their bursting with joy, truthfully they’re sad too and this album is so much better than just ‘okay’.