REVIEW: You Blew It! – “Greenwood”
by Chad Jewett
If there’s a recognizable “emo band grows up” narrative built into the two songs we’ve heard so far from Orlando’s You Blew It! and their forthcoming album Abendrot, then at least credit the band with having impeccable taste and good ears. It’s hard not to hear Devil and God-era Brand New in the haunted whispers and sudden bursts of lead single “Autotheology” (even that title calls to mind Jesse Lacey’s baroque Catholic guilt), a song whose simmering tension marked an entirely new register for a band whose moods on record up to this point were largely either “affable” or “wistful”. And indeed, there is a path here – one you might associate with Brand New, or with Midtown and the fevered bite of their underrated 2004 swan song Forget What You Know, or even the unexpected barbs of Jimmy Eat World’s Futures, an album for which You Blew It! have expressed admiration.
But the fact that You Blew It! seem to be fitting a certain post-hardcore archetype quite perfectly doesn’t mean that they aren’t making good records out of this stuff. Indeed, for the legions of bands who’ve studied this material like holy writ, You Blew It! seem to be amongst the select few who’ve managed to make something that you’d actually listen to more than once. In fact, I’ve listened to both a whole lot. And indeed, “Greenwood” is as striking as “Autotheology”, a four minute passage of autumnal mood music to contrast the minor key anxiety of the album’s first single. The song has its hallmarks – the slow-burn Side B material from Bleed American and Clarity come to mind, as does the shimmering minimalism of Polyvinyl’s class of 1998-1999 – but Tanner Jones’ voice has never sounded better; the band has never been so subtle, patient, and nuanced; the production, with all of its echo-y flares and decorating detail (pianos, bubbling keys, waves of harmony) lends the song an ethereal quality that is new, and a welcome twist from this band. In that sense you might call “Greenwood” a best-case scenario: a warm reminder and a pleasant surprise.