Monday, 7 March 2016

Album Review: Yes It Is by Western Settings


Here is another example of Colin being very late to the party. This time it's San Diego punks Western Settings and their February 2015 album Yes It Is, which was released on Dying Scene Records and La Escalera Records.


The first song on Yes It Is is named Revhead. Straight away I love the positivity that pours out of the track. The lyrics from the second verse in particular demonstrate this positivity - "We Are Happy, We Are Tired, We Are Filthy, We Are Hungry, We Are Dreaming, Always Dreaming, We Are Chasing, We Are Well On Our Way". To me these lyrics sum up what life as a punk is about, no matter what your life is like we are always dreaming of better things and finding a way to get them. Get It, Got In goes along at a fun pace, the melodic nature of the track gives the song a big feel and the use of multiple vocalists helps to get you singing as well. This song is about living different lifestyles and choosing the ones that's best for you no matter what other people might think. I like how they've made the songs about both sides of the argument without seemingly being overly negative about either. The third song is called Dying Without Children and for me was when the album really got going. The song starts out slowly and has a big Hot Water Music vibe before the tempo of the song is upped. The song tells a story about the troubles that a man and woman have communicating with their problems. Western Settings have added a female harmony on the track to really build up the atmosphere of the song. I really loved the last couple of lines of the track which are about turning things around by opening up; they are delivered in such a upbeat and positive way. San Antonio begins with some simple guitar guitars before some big vocals kick in. The song travels along nicely but it's the chorus that really captures my attention. It's massive with the lead singer belting out the line "Take Her 10 Versus My 27".

The fifth song - Table For One - is a fifty-four second instrumental track. It serves as a bit of an introduction to the next song Kicking and Screaming. This is a mid tempo sing-a-long punk rock song about trying to change the world even when you think nobody is noticing you. It's another upbeat and positive song with a slight feel of newer Flatliners about it. The chorus is guaranteed to get a big reaction at a live show as the band scream out "I'm Not Fucking Dead". Bricks is another short instrumental song that calms things down from Kicking and Screaming and leads nicely into the next song - the title track, Yes It Is. Yes It Is has more of an aggressive tone to the vocals at the beginning of the song, again reminding me of Hot Water Music. I really loved the switch of momentum for the chorus as the band proudly belts out the words "Thanks For The Advice, But I'll Probably Do My Own Thing, You Gotta Free Your Heart, Run It On The Inside, Shake, Bound Outside, Hold Your Head High". More brilliant positivity! Goodbye start slowly with some tender guitars and some emotional vocals. Of course the tempo increases and some more of the excellent gruff vocals come into play. They are rough and ready but also have an incredible amount of emotion in them that really is quite moving. 

Mami's Revenge is a song about realising you're in a place that you never wanted to be in. This song is a highlight on the album for me and is something I relate to, being stuck in a job that I hate. Musically the song comes off like a fists-in–the-air anthem that will get a whole room singing along. Something we all know I love! I really liked the repeating chorus of "So Let It Out, Don't Keep It In" done with the gang vocals. It had a great, therapeutic feeling to it. The Penultimate song is named Carl's Concern. This song is another that travels along at a nice pace. It never explodes into life but has a lot of melody to the track. I really love the last song on Yes It Is - Lines Of Teeth. This is one of the best songs I've heard in a while, I love everything about it. Starting with a rolling drum beat, some gentle guitars, the lead vocalists carry the melody of the song to start with before charging into a big chorus. Lyrically the song is one of the more negative on the album, but it has a great uplifting quality to it. This is the sign of some amazing songwriting, bands like Off With Their Heads and The Smith Street Band are great at doing this and Western Settings are no different. Lines Of Teeth is about hating everything around you apart from your friends and loved ones. It's about living in your own little bubble and cutting out the bad things. Absolutely fantastic song!

I wish I had heard this album a lot sooner. It's really positive sing-a-long punk rock that makes you feel great. They have a new EP named Old Pain coming out on April 29th that I'm really looking forward to, you should be too.

Stream and download Yes It Is here: https://dyingscenerecords.bandcamp.com/album/yes-it-is

Like Western Settings here: https://www.facebook.com/westernsettings