You Blew It!
Pioneer Of Nothing
by Trevor Johnson
At this very time last year, many people (read: this person right here) were positioning You Blew It!’s latest, Keep Doing What You’re Doing, as a rapid maturation. Gone were the lovable-yet-tussled edges of their debut, Grow Up, Dude. That album’s admirable sloppiness was musical bedhead, full of youthful charm and promise. Keep Doing What You’re Doing was crafted, chord-heavy and cautious without ever being safe or stale.
But eventually you have to stop associating quality with growth spurts. With their latest release, Pioneer of Nothing (via Jade Tree Records), Orlando’s You Blew It! have proven that nothing was ever a fluke. Constantly improving doesn’t mean you were ever in need of vast improvement. It means that a band insists more from itself than do its fans, a scenario that is so rarely as damning as its inverse. Pioneer of Nothing is You Blew It!’s proclamation that they have been around long enough; it’s time to be considered consistent. Take a moment to appreciate that. It’s not exactly a plateau many emo bands reach.
Over the course of opener “Lanai” the first thing that stands out is just how comfortable Tanner Jones’ singing voice sounds. There will be those who have to re-check the liner notes to make sure he wasn’t replaced somewhere along the way in 2014. That isn’t to say he performed poorly on Keep Doing. It should, however, underline that a vast improvement was reached where it was not necessarily in dire need.
“Don’t be fooled,” Jones starts, “I couldn’t think of anything less cool/Than your Saturdays talking trash./Now which one of us is sad?”. Now maybe that’s little more than a wink and a nod to the emo kids, but it certainly all comes off like a sweet sounding diss track. Softly, the bridge confirms it, “It’s not on me to assume/The burden of talking to you.” This is as calm and adult as “fuck off”’s can get whether you remember “Terri vs. Tori” or not. Elsewhere, “Bedside Manor” is a gorgeous quite verse/loud chorus transition that enlists little more but demands nothing further. After years of rotating lineups, this iteration of the band has never sounded tighter, more assured. Their transitions explode into place and snap back deftly.
The EP’s closer, “Your Side” is You Blew It!’s first shot at a slow burn. Where previous albums would have left this track to Jones and his guitar, here there are muffled symbol swells and faint pools of distortion that crest and fade. On a full-length, this would most likely not be a closer but rather a transitional track between two potentially louder or quicker neighbors. Instead, You Blew It! uses it as a tease, perhaps building up to what we will hopefully get later this year in the form of a next full-length.
In 2012 You Blew It! was a talented group of Floridians that put on a fun show and released a very catchy album at the exact perfect time. Since that very moment they’ve taken every chance to get better as a band and push themselves and thus, the parameters of the genre that they have come to co-headline. They have found a way to redefine accessible, catchy emo music rather than be defined by it. It shouldn’t be considered a coincidence that they’ve released back-to-back records in January. They have become pace-setters in many ways. Just as it was only 12 months ago, it’s your move, 2015.