(Photo Credit - Take This to Heart Records)
Advance Review - Barely Civil: I’ll Figure This Out (September 4, 2020) via Take This to Heart
Wisconsin natives Barely Civil are back with their sophomore album I’ll Figure This Out, dropping September 4th. Joining the quartet is TWIABP’s long-time member, Chris Teti. Teti, who also co-owns Silver Bullet studios in Burlington Connecticut, produced the album in such a way that allowed frontman Connor Erickson to remain stoic in manner with his relatively soft vocals, while the arrangements of heavy chords scream with the internal frustration.
While the band’s first album We Can Live Here Forever, touches mainly on defining home as something internal, while I’ll Figure This Out conveys an inner brooding over the current state of affairs and continuing to define oneself despite them. Through their label press(Take This to Heart Records) Erickson states “I feel like our music revolves around the process of analyzing who we are and where we come from, possibly, even, where we belong.”
As I listened to the singles, “The Worst Part of December” hits a little too close to home for me. Right as the year is about to end another birthday comes and goes, another tally added to my age. This song encapsulates the reflection that occurs and all the questions that come with burning the wick at both ends in your twenties. Am I where I want to be? Did I waste more time than I should have?
“Graves Avenue” is the sound of Barely Civil marking their territory in the emo genre. The heavy chords and chaotic riffs are a force to be reckoned with and there’s nothing whiny about this song. The song concludes with the line “Sometimes I feel left out”. Feeling isolated and unable to connect is something that every self-aware being has felt.
This album is relentless with the rollercoaster of emotion track by track. They all hit on different levels and in their own unique way, while flowing into each other effortlessly. As exhausting as “North Newhall” is, the transition into is inviting “Hollow Structures” as it is tonally more subdued than the rest of the tracks. The ambience could be mistaken as calming but there’s a deep melancholy at play here. The small trumpet solo comes as a delight as it nods at Teti’s contribution to TWIABP and also the likes of Foxing.
I’ll Figure This Out is a heads up to everyone From the band personally that their trajectory has been set, and they will soon be a tried and true name in the emo alternative genre. Barely Civil just made it to the top of my “Artists to Look Out For” list.
Check out their limited first pressing of the album. I have the “Beer & Bone” splatter variant on the way.
Rating - 4.5/5