Evan Weiss won’t be winning any band name competitions with his solo project Into It. Over It. but over his previous three albums, he has won a following – predominantly emo-pop fans – that will be looking forward to fourth album Figure. Recorded in numerous Chicago studios, the album continues on from 2016’s Standards in that things are a lot less experimental these days, with setting it alongside the likes of Bastille and The 1975 in their early stages, with something of a Death Cab For Cutie influence going on.
About the album, Weiss claims “It’s about trying to make peace with poor decisions that I’ve made,” a theme that is most apparent during the dramatic Breathing Patterns, a song that clearly sees Weiss making a mental note not to make the same mistakes again. And there are plenty of relationship references going on, like on Living Up To Let You Down: it’s catchy, which is something where Weiss seems to excel, and its wavy keyboard line is intriguing in a Nada Surf, Come Get Me kind of way.
It has upbeat nature that conveys optimism and hope, as lyrics talk of future options. Album highlight Brushstrokes again delves into relationships amid clicking drumstick percussion, but the message is not so pretty this time, the relationship in question attracting attention of the ugly kind when examined under a microscope despite looking rosy from a distance. Courtesy Greetings then turns to more relationship woes as lyrics tell, “sorry, I owe you so much more” during some nice, fuzzy guitars.
Bear’s Den are recalled during both opener They Built Our Bench Again In Palmer Square, where Weiss’ melodic capabilities shine through, as well as closer A Light In The Trees, a song that sits in a far more subtle place than the rest of the album with vocals in particular appealing more so than elsewhere.
Which is where the sticking point resides for Figure, as vocals begin to grate simply because they are unwaveringly overstated, much like Catfish & The Bottlemen’s Van McCann has a tendency to do, being almost too much in your face, constantly demanding attention. Another concerning trait is that there is often a disjointedness, such as during Hollow Halos following its heavier wall of sound where vocals for once harmonise quite beautifully as “new solutions” are discussed but it’s all too stop/start. As is Perfect Penmanship, another track which sounds like broken pieces being glued back together despite some more obvious catchiness doing its best to smooth things over. We Prefer Indoors suffers a similar fate, and yet more vocal harmonies await during Dressing Down/Addressing You after an ambient intro – if you can overlook those incessant main vocals. Razorlight’s America gets a nod with A Lyric In My Head I Haven’t Thought Of Yet replicating those twinkling guitars for a swooning moment, and another highlight, A Left Turn At Best Intentions, pleases with its clanging guitars and militaristic percussion.
For all that, Figure does have its highlights, and certain tracks will happily sit on repeat numerous times. If you can get past the vocal onslaught and the occasional uneventful passage, it could prove more broadly rewarding over time.