Fearless Records has always known what they’re doing when it comes to signing bands. Currently, they are a force in metalcore with bands like The Color Morale, Blessthefall, August Burns Red and Motionless In White. While this is the genre that many associate them with, though, they’ve been instrumental in getting some of today’s biggest bands out of their basements. Some notable names they’ve had in the past are SugarCult, Plain White T’s, The Maine and At the Drive-In. So, it should be no surprise that a band like Brighton, MN’s As It Is would be pushed hard by the label. With their label debut, Never Happy, Ever After they have proven exactly why Fearless stands behind them. Pop-punk is a genre that can be difficult to get behind as, sadly, most releases in the genre sound the same… but Never Happy, Ever After is a breath of fresh air and, possibly, the beginning of a revival for the genre.
While I have to admit, at the beginning… I was almost turned away by vocalist/guitarist Ben Bliss’ nasally vocals but I stuck it through and found myself quickly smitten by them. We were first introduced to the band via their debut single, “Dial Tones”, a track about an unhealthy relationship, characterized by too much time apart. “Am I all that you ever wanted or has it been so long that you’ve forgotten? All we ever share is dial tones!” We find out later in the track it’s because of indiscretions within the relationship which caused a mistrust between the two. He is begging for another chance, burdened by guilt and destroying himself for it while she ignores his every move. It usually seems to be the tracks with the most connection to a listener that are the catchiest in this genre and, honestly, this is no exception. This track sets the foundation for the theme of the album.
“Cheap Shots & Setbacks” takes on a different subject, being different in a world where everyone longs to fit in. “We’re the kids who are dead inside but we’re the ones who feel alive! We dream ’cause we don’t sleep, we’ll never get rest but we got this!” What does this lyric mean to you? Being that I’ve been in this situation, I know exactly what they’re referencing. When you’re cast out of society for being different, you find yourself lying awake countless nights wondering what’s wrong with you. You want nothing more than to fit in with the rest but, at the same time it allows you to focus on your dreams which, at times, may feel too big to ever achieve but just gives you more incentive to reach even further for them!
One of my favorite tracks is the beautiful and emotional, acoustic track “My Oceans Were Lakes.” It’s a track about the realization that, no matter how big your problems are, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. This track really hits home for me and has, at this time, become my anthem because there’s a lot going on in life that you, honestly, don’t understand. It’s about realizing that everything is part of a bigger plan, no matter how long it takes you to see that. “I’m starting to see my oceans were lakes”. The oceans/lakes comparison here is about realizing that no matter how big the struggle, it will eventually fade away into the distance.. you’ll always get through it.
This album is truly a pop-punk masterpiece and, from what I can see, is incredibly underrated. While it’s not 100% perfect, it’s definitely a start for these guys. They will be heading out on the entire Vans Warped Tour this year and I urge you to check them out (complete tour dates below). For now, pick up Never Happy, Ever After out on Fearless Records now!
“Dial Tones” (Official Music Video)
“Cheap Shots & Setbacks” (Official Music Video)
Catch As It Is on tour