Kayak Jones
You Swear It's Getting Better Every Day


5.0
classic

Review

by Mathias USER (11 Reviews)
April 22nd, 2019 | 63 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Treading the line between emo and pop punk, as well as the line between misery and grit.

“Valediction”, the closing track of You Swear It’s Getting Better Every Day, is the emotional release of the album, with vocalist Tyler Zhumov bidding farewell to something or someone, although it’s not made clear who. It could be his own well-being, it could be his depression, it could be his past - The interpretation is left open, with the vocals being echoed by screams in the end as Zhumov sings “I can feel the cliffs calling me/Standing still in the Rain/I loved you dearly”. No matter who the album’s farewell is addressed to, You Swear It’s Getting Better Every Day is a grand welcome to Kayak Jones to the pop punk/midwestern emo scene.

Taking seemingly as much inspiration from The Wonder Years as they do from American Football, Kayak Jones’s debut album is one that is equal parts painful and cathartic. Creating a sound that is entirely unique but incredibly accessible, the band have proven themselves as a force to be reckoned with across a concise 31 minute run time.

One of the most noticeable things about Kayak Jones is their ability to seamlessly intertwine the intricate stylings of midwestern Emo and harder stylings of pop punk into one cohesive sound. Vocalist Tyler Zumhov is never entirely free of the forceful grit of his voice but is able to transition it between flawlessly between styles, while never breaching the territory into overdramatic. Opening track “Good Quality Work” immediately begins with Zumhov singing, introducing a catch to his voice that makes the listener believe that he could either break out screaming or break down crying at any point in the album, neither of which would necessarily be surprising. The track begins in an introspective space until the track builds with the whole band joining in, before de-crescendoing to Zhumov singing “I hope your well my dearest friend, maybe one day we can meet up again I can . . . hope”. This unconventional opener shows that Kayak Jones are not afraid to break free of the conventions of their trade.

All ten tracks on You Swear It’s Getting Better Every Day soar, both emotionally and instrumentally. “Nose Blunt” is a more traditional pop punk track, with a heavier emphasis on the punk portion, but with a chorus that is extremely accessible, alongside a noticeably stellar percussion performance from Brandon Blakeley and intricate guitars absolutely wailing non-stop. This track leads directly into single “Lonely Codependent”, featuring a guitar solo that would be more in keeping with a math rock track, while “Foolish” ends with a shoegaze inspired minute of haze. Even though they prove that they could stick to typical pop punk conventions and make a record that went toe-to-toe with its contemporaries, Kayak Jones never rests on those laurels and instead push the boundaries of the scene that they are relatively newcomers to.

Of course, something that is always expected on both the best pop punk and emo records is emotional intensity and honesty, which is something that Kayak Jones have in abundance. Hailing from Dubuque, Iowa, the record constantly has you questioning “How horrible of a place is Dubuque, Iowa"” It is clear that this is music that comes from experiencing hurt. Many of the songs discuss a feeling of not belonging and have both subtle and not-so-subtle descriptions of anxiety. Again though, they manage to pull this off without ever becoming an overbearing parody of themselves. The chorus of “Nose Blunt” has Zhumov crying out “Where did I even *** up"”, without it sounding like a cliche of the genre.

The closing trio of tracks showcases everything that the band does well. “Rusted” is the most experimental the band gets, while also showcasing their heaviest aspects. Starting out with vocal effects and a level of reverb, the effects are stripped away for Zhumov to yell out “It’s ok that they treat you this way, trapped inside my head until I cave”, before retreating back into the shadows for the following verse. The song shows the skills of the band along with highlighting the walls of emotion they can impact the listener with.

Closing tracks “The Mess I’ve Made” and “Valediction” serve as a cathartic release in the album, showcasing a sense of optimism along with featuring Zhumov in his most vulnerable state on the album. “The Mess I’ve Made” serves as the most straightforward pop-punk song on the album, with the impassioned chorus having Zhumov repeating the album title, seemingly trying to convince himself as much as the listener, before letting out an impassioned scream at the end. As mentioned before, closer “Valediction” leaves on an ambiguous farewell, an almost cliffhanger that leads the listener back into fulfilling relistens. What is made clear by the end of You Swear It’s Getting Better Every Day, however, is that Kayak Jones have the promise to become one of the best in genre.



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user ratings (36)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
dmathias52
April 22nd 2019


353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Literally minutes after making a list asking for modern pop punk, I find this release. Everything that I was looking for and more. I don't think I've ever thrown a five on something so quickly, but I've given this probably 10+ listens over the past couple of days with the traveling I've had to do and can't get enough.

Lonely Codependent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6U8yYp3h88Y

Any feedback and constructive criticism is appreciated! I want to make sure I do this as much justice as possible.

Digging: Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties - Routine Maintenance

Slex
April 22nd 2019


6638 Comments


Holy shit, can't wait to listen to this

Swell review my friend

Digging: Tyler, the Creator - IGOR

dmathias52
April 22nd 2019


353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Appreciate it Slex! A chance I might be overhyping this, but holy hell does it hit me hard on every listen.

Slex
April 22nd 2019


6638 Comments


Will definitely be listening today, right up my alley

keza
April 22nd 2019


302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

YES I'm so glad you dug my recommendation. I reviewed Sort Out Your Head last year and 5'd that but sadly not many were turned onto this band until now.



This record rules, this review is great and everyone please LISTEN TO KAYAK JONES

keza
April 22nd 2019


302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Matter" is one of those few truly viscerally gut wrenching tracks in this style

Also I'm obsessed with the singles off this thing

dmathias52
April 22nd 2019


353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes Keza! The wild thing is that these guys are part of my local scene, Dubuque is only like 90 minutes away from me (which is close in Iowa terms lol). They’re one of the biggest bands in the scene, have played some shows with my sister’s boyfriends band, been around for a decent amount of time, but they were never on my radar until your rec.

And “Matter” is seriously amazing. I’ve just been jumping back and forth between this and those early EPs for the past three days.

dmp3131
April 22nd 2019


1338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Giving this a listen, singer sounds like an overly sad Soupy

Ecnalzen
April 22nd 2019


8337 Comments


Listening now. I am interested in this.

dmathias52
April 22nd 2019


353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@dmp Oh yeah, definitely a Soupy vibe with more emo leanings. For me that’s a good thing, but I could see it turning people away.

@Ecnalzen I hope you enjoy it!

dmp3131
April 22nd 2019


1338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This was pretty good, the last 2-3 tracks really wrapped it up nicely. Definitely will revisit

dmathias52
April 22nd 2019


353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, the last three tracks definitely serve as an emotional resolve that makes the rest of it worth it. There's an optimism in there! Not to take the comparison yet again, but it's the thing that I feel makes The Wonder Years work.

Lucman
April 22nd 2019


2548 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This sounds gooooood. Gonna give it a spin today.

Digging: Shiina Ringo - Shouso Strip

dmathias52
April 22nd 2019


353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes Lucman, I could see you really liking this! 2019 has been an amazing year in music, but lacking a bit in the heavier emo scene. This is reaaaally filling that void.

hogan900
April 23rd 2019


2942 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah this is pretty dang cool

SlothcoreSam
April 23rd 2019


460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome album and great review my man.

The vocal stylings are very Soupy like, for sure, but that's not a bad thing.

Best pop-punk/midwest-emo release since Shmaltz

Digging: Overgrow - The Name We Share

dmathias52
April 23rd 2019


353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Happy more people are finding and enjoying this! Totally agree on the best since Schmaltz, this has been scratching that itch like crazy.

Danred97
April 23rd 2019


2217 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hear about these boys cause they're going in tour with Hot Mulligan. Super impressed with this album. It's the kick in the ass this year needed to get going. absolutely phenomenal all the way through.

dmathias52
April 23rd 2019


353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Totally agree. A lot of good stuff coming from that midwestern scene, but this is my favorite of it recently.

dmathias52
April 25th 2019


353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Giving this a little bump cause I’m still obsessed!



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