by Cory Stark
Rating: 8.5 / 10
I can understand if you’re weary of bands who have an exclamation point in their name. It’s kind of amateurish in my eyes, and it almost always causes confusion. Panic! At The Disco had it, got rid of it, and added it again, which is honestly just plain annoying. However, if you’re like me in this regard, I’d ask you to suspend your punctuation-related judgment for You Blew It!. (See? I don’t even know whether to put a period at the end of it.)
Abendrot is a German word that translates to “afterglow” in English. You Blew It! has really exceeded my expectations with this album. I’d seen them live once before, when they were playing their older stuff, and I checked them out. Up until now, You Blew It! has for the most part been your standard emo-indie-rock band, with perhaps the exception if 2013’s The Past in The Present, which is a lovely instrumental-focused record with some lush guitar parts. Now, this isn’t to say that Abendrot isn’t an emo/indie rock album. It definitely is, to an extent, but the band is clearly figuring out their potential to create an original sound. I appreciated the instrumentals on every track except for “Basin & Range,” which commits the sin of sounding a little too much like cliché upbeat pop-punk. I love cliché upbeat pop-punk, but it doesn’t mesh with the rest of the album, which is actually a testament to how good of a concept album Abendrot is, because all the other songs fit in perfectly both sonically and lyrically.
While listening to Abendrot, it’s easy to appreciate the song structure and absolutely gorgeous guitar harmonies, but the hidden triumph of the record is in its lyrics. Frontman Tanner Jones has definitely dug deeper for this one. While You Blew It!’s last album, Keep Doing What You’re Doing, was a reflection on adolescence and gave us some standard pop-punk grievances, Abendrot is a crisis of the mind. The whole album follows the story of realizing there’s something wrong with you and fighting your own mind in an effort to fix yourself. Jones creates this struggle through the use of repeated lines like “There’s got to be something wrong with me/ A Higgs boson of my own” which communicate the pain and frustration of not knowing what’s wrong and not being able to find out. Another beautiful example is the song “Autotheology” which is a nearly-anthemic rant against a deity that may have caused the problems the speaker is facing, culminating with the line “When god dies/I’ll skip the funeral.” Throughout the record, the repetition of phrases such as these emphasize the beautiful simplicity that I came to know Abendrot for.
You Blew It!’s new record has given them credibility and in my mind cemented them as a quality band. Like any good concept album, in order to fully appreciate Abendrot, you have to listen to the whole thing in order, and you have to listen to it a few times. After the final notes rang through my ears, my thoughts were warm and introspective, a feeling I could only describe as an afterglow.
FCC: 1, 5
RIYL: Tiny Moving Parts, Microwave
Favorite Tracks: 5, 7, 10