As music fans, we can be very hard to please sometimes. We ask a lot from our favorite artists – we want progression, but we want them to stick to their roots. We want something huge and different, but we want it to sound like what we already know. We want things tailored directly to us, and we want it every ten months or so.
But, as fickle as we can be, we don’t always need a masterpiece. In the end, we’re just hoping to be entertained.
Poughkeepsie’s We Are the In Crowd have a very solid reputation around these parts. They’re a group that we’ve kept an eye on and have always wished the best for. (Note: if a band is from, like, a two-hour radius of where I live, I consider them “local.” So, there’s that). On their sophomore full-length Weird Kids, the group delivers a product that is three years in-the-making.
It doesn’t take long for the album to show signs of the group’s growth throughout their past few years. The multi-useful (more on this later) “Long Live the Kids” is a soft, powerful piano ballad that swells into massive, youthful grandeur while boasting an impressive vocal performance from Tay Jardine. “The Best Thing (That Never Happened),” Weird Kids’ lead single, quickly follows, erupting past the album’s booming introduction and diving into a quick, aggressive pop-punk attack. When Jardine takes hold of the string-laced “Don’t You Worry” later, the track absolutely soars, volleying back and forth between a classical/pop split and a pop-punk sprint.
While Jardine’s vocals may be as crisp as they’ve ever been, Jordan Eckes’ contributions can’t be ignored. The split vocal duties that we’ve grown to enjoy from We Are the In Crowd are present and in full force. The dual guitars of Eckes and Cameron Hurley tear into “Dreaming Out Loud,” where the singers share the chorus rather than splitting vocal duties, harmonizing well and delivering solid performances from both. “Manners,” which is thrown into the important third song slot, is what we love to get from this band – a captivating introduction, beautiful split vocals, and a huge chorus all result in an all-around success.
Lyrically, the album falls off a bit at times. The “all my exes live in Texas” line that leads into “Remember (To Forget You)” starts the song off on poor footing, but the group quickly recovers. Other than that, the record is very well-written. “Attention” is one of the catchiest songs, serving as a title track of sorts. Mike Ferri’s basslines rumble along beneath the verses before Jardine belts a chorus of “I know the way I want to be / but I’m trapped in who I am. / The only thing that holds me back is not believing. / We are the only friends we have.”
The group slows things down twice, with the exception of the introduction; once on “Come Back Home,” and again on “Windows in Heaven,” both of which (and especially the latter) are very vocally-carried. The first is a strong acoustic duet, while the second is dark and distant, unlike anything else on the record but still showcasing Jardine’s talent. It’s a chance for her voice to really shine, and she doesn’t miss her mark.
I mentioned earlier how “Long Live the Kids” is multi-useful. I say this because it could have found a home as either the opener or the closer, much like how ending “Reflections” could handle either role. I’m not saying that the placement of either one is wrong, but in my opinion, “Long Live the Kids” works better as an opener than “Reflections” does as a closer (and vice versa).
There are plenty of reasons for the three-year gap between We Are the In Crowd albums, I’m sure – Warped Tour summers, rigorous writing, a handful of other tours, etc. etc. But mostly, this group has matured far beyond what a ≈ 36-month span would entail. Weird Kids is an album from a band that is where they are because of their fans. It tells us that it’s okay to be a little bit off, a little bit out there. We’re all just weird kids in the end.
Release Date: February 18th, 2014
01. Long Live The Kids
02. The Best Thing (That Never Happened)
04. Come Back Home
06. Dreaming Out Loud
07. Remember (To Forget You)
08. Don’t You Worry
09. Windows In Heaven
We Are the In Crowd are:
Taylor Jardine – Vocals, keyboards
Jordan Eckes – Guitar, vocals
Cameron Hurley – Guitar
Mike Ferri – Bass
Robert Chianelli – Drums
Written By: Eric Riley