Reviewed by: Nate Adams
Calling indie punk bands like Into It. Over It. “Kinsella-inspired” is just as cliché as calling them “emo” at this point. Sure, the Chicago band’s new album, Intersections, has all the springy melodies, lilting vocals and self-loathing lyrics that Mike Kinsella played with in Cap’n Jazz and perfected with Owen, but Into It. Over It. excels as more than an aping act through it’s myriad influences and its smart lyric-writing.
Music of this type, which one could classify as “third-wave emo” if one was so inclined, comes pre-packaged as a delivery method for confessional songwriting, which Intersections delivers in spades. Main songwriter Evan Weiss authors tons of hyper-personal interactions, some coming off better than others (the imagery of “A New North-Side Air” and turns of phrase on album highlight “Upstate Blues” come to mind).
Musically, the album’s least effective tracks come off as straightforward hero worship. “A Curse Worth Believing” and “Favor and Fiction” play like overt nods to the aforementioned Owen and Death Cab for Cutie, respectively, without hitting as hard as either. The album fairs much better when Weiss mixes his influences together to create something both familiar and distinct. “Upstate Blues” sounds like the last 20 years of emotional indie rock rolled together in the best way possible. The slow build and subtle fuzz of “Your Antique Organ” hits hard while nodding at sounds established by Sunny Day Real Estate, Slater Kinney and Built to Spill all at the same time. “Obsessive Compulsive Distraction,” which sounds like a child of American Football (another Kinsella property), The Get Up Kids and Cheap Girls could be the alternative-tuning ballad of the season.
Into It. Over It. obviously cares deeply about the music that has influenced it. Sometimes, it is to the albums detriment, but at its best moments, Intersections move emotional punk forward by acknowledging its past without dwelling in it