REVIEW: You Blew It! – Keep Doing What You’re Doing [2014]


Artist: You Blew It!

Album: Keep Doing What You’re Doing


There are some memories that can be recollected with nothing but boundless warmth. Even now, in the dead of a relentless Michigan winter, I can remember summers in Petoskey and breakfast before elementary school with my father and become wrapped in nostalgia’s warming wool comforter. Likewise, there are some artists that have the ability to paint pictures of immersive warmth with their music. Floridian post-emo act You Blew It! are one of those bands. Keep Doing What You’re Doing is the band doing just that—continuing to expand their empire of emotive, melodic punk mixed with punchy and catchy hardcore and 90’s emo elements with a collection of songs that creates an immersive bubble of warmth and ethereal emotion around the listener, whisking them away into the sublime seconds of yester-year.

The first hint of the warming breeze of nostalgia that You Blew It! send the listeners way comes in the form of catchy, engaging instrumentation. “Match and Tinder” kick-starts Keep Doing What You’re Doing with a poppy, hard-hitting drum line and dancy guitar riffs that weave around the splashy cymbal-work of the percussion to wind their way into the listener’s mind. Likewise, “A Different Kind of Kindling” employs a somewhat more subtle—but still driving—instrumental backdrop: one that makes perfect use of punchy bass guitar that packs the song full of head-bobbing, heart-throbbing personality. The variety of instrumentation throughout You Blew It!’s album follow’s this trend—oscillating between driving, visceral pop-punk anthems like “Match and Tinder” or “Rock Springs” and more mellow, emo-influenced ballads like “You & Me & Me,” which soothes the listener into a slumber-like state as serene as summers spent on a swinging hammock. This instrumental variety is the first of many aspects where Keep Doing What You’re Doing sets itself apart from the releases of You Blew It!’s peers. Where many bands making a tried-and-true attempt of blending pop, punk and emo the way that these Floridian innovators do might focus on just one facet of a respective genre, You Blew It! instead spread their efforts equally across each instrumental aspect of each genre. The result? An album which has highlights to be found in both the catchy, hooky post-punk aspects and the low-key, crooned emo-styled segments.

Keep Doing What You’re Doing isn’t just a varied instrumental effort—to think that would be nothing but folly. Simply put, the greatest amount of variety (and subsequent innovation) found from You Blew It! comes from the brilliant vocal diversity to be had throughout the release. Some tracks—the more driving ones like “Award of the Year Award” and “Rock Springs”—make heavy use of a shout-sing-yell vocal style that strains the listener’s heartstrings almost as much as it strains the vocalist’s larynx. These aggressive portions go right for the main arteries, using a belligerent vocal attack to cut through the listener’s ribcage and ensnare the heart with witty, backhanded one-liners that induce a knowing smirk. However, the more mellow portions of the album—those found in “You & Me & Me” or “A Different Kind of Kindling”—sound almost as if they could be found on a Sunny Day Real Estate B-side. These tracks employ a silky-smooth croon that glides right into the listener’s head without obstruction, delivering plucky, yet heart-felt, lyrics about love, loss and the frustration therein.

Throughout all of the different styles, voices and riffs found on You Blew It!’s Keep Doing What You’re Doing, one isn’t necessarily better than another. The true, awe-inspiring moments on the album come from moments where everything comes together to work in perfect harmony—much like the atria and ventricles of the heart contract and relax in cycles of systole and diastole. These moments make up the album-defining tracks “Grey Matter,” “Match and Tinder” and “Better to Best.” “Grey Matter” flows smoothly from aggressive, heart-rending and raw emotion to subtle, smooth croons—while “Match and Tinder” is a song that, simply put, reeks of youth and energy. “Better to Best” functions as the quintessential manner to end such a diverse and nostalgic listening experience—as plucky but honest lyrics repeat to draw the song (and release) to a close, with a soft singing that morphs and grows into a full-blown chant that will have the listener yelling along, one hand pressed to their chest and the other pumping in the air.

You Blew It! are the perfect metaphor for the human heart—they are the source of life for a genre that could use a pumping, driving force to motivate it. More than that, though, they are greater than the sum of their parts, and Keep Doing What You’re Doing is evidence of that. As poppy, punchy elements give way to the soft, gooey emo elements beneath, a dissection of Keep Doing What You’re Doing will reveal a picture-perfect analysis of the listener’s past and present—their love and loss, and ultimately, their greatest happiness and deepest sadness. In short, You Blew It! provide the listener with the greatest gift a band can give—an introspective trip down memory lane.



For Fans Of: Sunny Day Real Estate, The Get Up Kids, The Early November, La Dispute

By: Connor Welsh