Emo’s not had the best PR of late, with the musical output of the genre not exactly breaking any boundaries either. However, Itoldyouiwouldeatyou have arrived with a record which fuses thought-provoking issues together with a sound for those craving the nostalgic instrumentation of the old era.
The London band stand alone as a group making a statement within the confines of this type of music. Frontman Joey Ashworth lies at the epicentre and possesses the emotional dexterity and intelligence to make the amalgamation work.
Oh Dearism is a fusion of ideas which reference a range of topics; from the singer’s mental and physical world, to socio-political issues within society. All the while maintaining the melodic inclinations to garner the listener’s attention in the first place.
“This record is about me trying to come back into the world after a long period of hiding from it,” explained Ashworth. “Remembering what I liked about living outside of my house, and what led me to hide in the first place. Striking the balance of informed naiveté — to remain open hearted, uncynical and prepared for the worst.”
Opener ‘Earl, King, Whatever’ sees him morbidly ask: “Would you come to the funeral? It’s just like a date except you’re alone and I don’t have much to say” as he opens up about his history and mental health, whilst ‘Gold Rush’ brings the LP to life with its powerful melodies.
Previous single, ‘Young American’, meanwhile, confronts anxiety: “I was better when I was a baby. I only cried when I was tired or hungry” before ‘Almost Zero’ uses elements of math-rock; an example of the instrumentation of Itoldyouiwouldeatyou apart from their peers. The same could be said for the topically titled ‘Gathering Things Together And Not Dividing Them’s stings-laden beautiful soundscape, which contrasts brilliantly compared to the next track and older single ‘Get Terrified’.
Meanwhile, ‘Craiglockhart’s swaying guitar and keyboard build up leads to a post-rock feel as Ashworth cries: “I can’t see you, it doesn’t mean you’re not there”. The math rock vibe comes to the fore again for ‘Greek Fire’ before the monumental ‘Goodbye To All That’ brings proceedings to a dramatic end. The closer begins with the pivotal line: “My name is Joey and you’re with me now” as he reads a child-like tale about a rabbit and a hare, under the backdrop of neat guitar work.
On paper Itoldyouiwouldeatyou shouldn’t work. However, even for those not smitten with the genre, it offers something tangible and meaningful to sink your teeth into. If emo decides to have another resurgence, then this collective deserves to be at the forefront of it.