by Andrew Garrison
Here at Surviving the Golden Age we are huge fans of the Orlando based indie rock/emo rock/something rock quartet You Blew It! Their sophomore effort, Keep Doing What You’re Doing hit the interweb for streaming last week and released by Topshelf records today. If you are into loud guitars, heavy percussions and an emo type of sound that is reminiscent of the stuff we were hearing a decade ago, this is definitely an album for you.
The album leads off with the very strong “Match & Tinder” that sets the stage for the loud and frankly rad guitar lines that are riddled throughout this LP. “Match & Tinder” does some pretty cool vocal harmonization that gives a nice break towards the end of the opening track. The second track, “Award of the Year Award” we got a taste of towards the end of last year, brings a similar speed and late 2000’s emo vocals that we will hear often on Keep Doing What You’re Doing. The standout performance in “Award” for me is the drums, which employ cymbals well for emphasis and introduce vocal changes with a rapid snare line. “Strong Island” slows things down quite a bit with softer vocals and instruments, creating a very intimate feeling to the song. Maybe just because it has been a while since I have listened to something that shreds as hard as You Blew It! does on much of the album, but “Strong Island” is probably my favorite song on this album, due in most part to the slower, softer nature and general feeling of connectivity that “Strong Island” relays. “House Address” is another excellent song that uses vocal variance to create a mood change back and forth and back again throughout the nearly five minute track. “House Address” also features a high pitched, nearly screeching guitar riff that isn’t like anything I have heard in a long time. And I dig it. “A Different Kind of Kindling” leads off with nearly speaking vocals, then crashes in with strong drums and a tumbling guitar line. A little way into the song, a similar guitar line is used to tumble upwards in a way; picking up the tempo and overall energy of the track. “Rock Springs” keeps the momentum from “A Different Kind of Kindling” and comes in hard and fast with the almost clichéd amp feedback and outstandingly fast and loud drums. This paired again with the emo vocals circa 2003 make “Rock Springs” a song that well, rocks. “You & Me & Me” softens up the vocals a tad while still have prominent, and really well executed guitar lines. While it does end rather abruptly, “You & Me & Me” is probably the catchiest song on the album, with just the right amount of repetitiveness in the vocals and a cyclical use of guitars. “Grey Matter” is probably one of the heavier songs on the album, having a very similar sound to the two lead off tracks. The album ends with a cool, harmonious lead off to “Better to Best”. After about the first minute of guitar play, the drums crash in briefly and then the vocals join and the song slows back down again. Parts of “Better to Best” are occupied by a wailing type sound, leaving the impression of a sway-along type of song. The general loudness, with a slower beat, make it an ideal way to end an album, and I can imagine, a live show.
Keep Doing What You’re Doing does a great job of mixing up tempos, often going from a hard song to a softer one, as if not to beat out over the head with their fast guitars, and loud vocals. When they do employ those sounds, it makes a great, high energy jam, and they do it well. Often within songs they will slow things down a bit to make sure that the sound isn’t too muddled or to get your earholes a reprieve. While some songs can be a tad abrasive at times, that sensation does not over stay its welcome, making a great album that can go hard and fast and loud, while still providing a very enjoyable listening experience. Their sophomore effort shows mastery of instruments, strong, and dynamic vocals. I am fully aware of how bad this joke is, but I am one that hopes they do, in fact, keep doing what they are doing.