South Florida has given the all-ages scene its fair share of talent over the past decade and a half. Bands like New Found Glory, Further Seems Forever, Torche and Fake Problems, though of different musical stylings, have brought equal depth to their respective genres and notoriety to their region. Screamo, on the other hand, has not faired as well within the area. With any luck though, that will all change with the release of Above The Weather, the debut full-length album from the Ft. Lauderdale three-piece, You’ll Live, as they have created a profound and remarkable collection of melodic, emotive and aggressive songs.
More than anything, Above The Weather is a great representation of screamo, unvarnished, free of noticeable hardcore and metal influences. More in line with the first wave of screamo than the chugging and breakdown heavy tendencies of the mid-aughts, You’ll Live is a band that channels emo in the mathy inflections of American Football and the more involved Algernon Cadwallader, whilst adding their own brand of brash belligerence that truly distinguishes the group from the genre’s current wave. The record’s opening track, “Pretty Good Rainbow,” is a great example of this amalgamation in the quiet and angular mid-tempo guitar lines, juxtaposed with driving and linear power chords.
Arguably the album’s standout track, “The Lonesome Crowded West” resonates in a timbre similar to the aforementioned, as guitarist/vocalist Nick Inman’s (You Blew It!) voice embraces the screamo tradition of grating and incomprehensible vocals. Behind these often abrasive screams are lyrics of emotional ambivalence and loss, anchoring themes prevalent throughout the duration of the album. On “Easy Come Easy Go” and “I’ll Never Shake This,” You’ll Live turn a corner and introduce pop elements to their sound; the former creating a hook through the repetition of an extremely catchy and bright guitar lead, while the latter tempers aggression, remaining upbeat.
Production-wise, there’s no denying the fact that this is a coarse album, which quite frankly is rough around the edges. The mix is uneven — distortion often overpowers most vocal and rhythm tracks — and the album is likely unmastered. Although this is quality that would generally taint a record’s “listenability,” Above The Weather tastefully reminds listeners of the genre’s DIY ethos.
Notwithstanding, Above The Weather may prove to be one of the genre’s standup debut albums so long as the band goes on to follow it up with an effort of even greater skill and inventiveness. All in all, You’ll Live is a group with considerable talent, playing pure screamo in all of its unadulterated glory; a pleasant surprise in this year’s crop of the genre’s releases.
Sound Quality: Audibly, the vinyl pressing surpasses that of the digital download. Still lacking in areas, the mix sounds much more smooth and balanced – Inman’s voice breaks through the guitars much easier and the drum tracks are more pronounced. The fact that this is a 30 minute recording spread across two sides of a 12-inch record surely attributed to the increase in quality.
Packaging: A limited amount of copies of Above The Weather include what’s likely the most inventive packaging to come out of a DIY label this year. Sometimes I Get Drunk Records calls it a “special interactive jacket,” and it sincerely is just that. On this special jacket, the baby being tossed through the air in the record’s album art is able to slide up and down by pulling on a paper lever on the backside of the jacket. It’s a little shaky, but it works. Handmade and likely slaved over for hours, its pretty damn cool. A screen printed insert is also included. Regular editions opt for a basic and single pocket jacket.
Extras: The interactive jacket is obviously the biggest extra, as it was included with the first 100 orders. The pressing also included two different color variants, with 250 copies on seafoam green and 250 copies on clear/frosty vinyl.
Summary: Sometimes I Get Drunk Records made a great call in signing You’ll Live and paired their release with fantastic packaging. Displaying a proficiency not seen in bands of similar propensities in much too long, Above The Weather gives listeners an excellent introduction to what they can expect from future full-length releases out of this young and developing band.
Make Sure To Spin: “The Lonesome Crowded West,” “Forever Here” and “I’ll Never Shake This.”