The story of Standards begins during mixing of Into It. Over It.'s 2013 album Intersections. Leader of the project, Evan Weiss, began writing melodies on a classical guitar found in the basement of producer Brian Deck. From these early riffs would come the 12 tracks that now make up the 2016 album. Listen to the SoundCloud stream above, courtesy of Triple Crown Records via Entertainment Weekly.
Weiss wanted to take a different approach to writing this album. He explained to Entertainment Weekly that his first two albums were written in Chicago studios where there was "so much distraction." Instead, Standards was written in a cabin in Vermont with his best friend and collaborator, Joshua David Sparks. The two spent hours writing music with only themselves and a kindling fire for company.
This album is truly a product of its environment. Rounding out to about 42 minutes long, it consumes the listener into the mind of Weiss. Every track feels like a nostalgic diary entry where the events are being re-played in real time. Without distractions from the outside world, Weiss intricately captures the moments that make up the struggles of each song with imagery that creates a series of fully realized scenes in the music.
In songs like "Your Lasting Image," Weiss retells the breakdown of a relationship. The track laces together images of a man lost in a desert, longing for anything to give him comfort after he was left there by a person he once loved. He "begs the canyon to begin to speak," while "reducing time to deserts, ash, and dust." This personification and imagery works as a metaphor for the feelings of abandonment that love often leaves us with.
This has always been the way of Into It. Over It. Weiss creates visual stories through his songs ripe with feelings of introverted otherness. Standards is an album of nostalgia, with songs like "No EQ" and "Adult Contempt" that tap back into the driving emo-rock sound he is known for. These faster paced songs combine with tracks like "Bible Black" and "Anesthetic," which create encompassing layers of sound with finger-picked guitars, humming vocals, and the occasional ringing bells. Every song is more dynamic than the one before it.
By the end of the record, Weiss takes the listener back to the project's roots with the song "The Circle Of The Same Ideas," a quick, stripped down track that seems to be the closing statement of the album. With the line, "My turn of phrase always begs an explanation," Weiss reinforces the personal journey he took while making Standards, bringing full circle the nostalgia embedded in the music. It seems the making of the album is as much a part of its story as the content within it.
Standards feels like a living thing, as though if you were to touch it, it would be as warm as the fire it was written by. After recording the album in San Francisco's Tiny Telephone Studios with John Vanderslice who produced records for bands like Mountain Goats and Death Cab for Cutie, "The final result is the most proud of anything I have ever made," Weiss told Billboard in a recent interview.
Standards will be officially released on March 11, 2016. You can order it on Amazon.
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Source: Entertainment Weekly