Landon Tewers
Withdrawals


4.0
excellent

Review

by Aeri USER (28 Reviews)
July 19th, 2019 | 65 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I know I need to change – but I’m fucked in the head.

Since the inception of The Plot In You through to the lonely meanderings of Dynamite, Landon Tewers has always retained a potent intimacy that continues to compel.

Despite a somewhat mixed reception towards the latest The Plot In You effort, Dispose, it was at least hard to not appreciate the more emotionally charged beats of the album: ‘Feel Nothing’ and ‘Rigged’ both offer a soothing build before finally delivering the heavier goods, while also easily displaying the growing influence of Tewers’ solo efforts throughout the group, especially when compared to the far heavier (and far more warmly received) Happiness In Self Destruction. While enthusiastic fans of The Plot In You’s heavier direction may have despaired at the appearance of a softer approach, frontman Landon Tewers’ addition of Dynamite-esque material seemed to only be scratching the surface of an itch that ran far deeper, seeping into the band’s material with little restraint or apology on behalf of any members within the post-hardcore four-piece.

Indeed, this is where Withdrawals truly steps into the spotlight, and where the inclinations of Dynamite rear unapologetically: while the likes of the blues-driven ‘Need to Change’ and guilt-ridden ‘Sick Obsession’ offered a potently raw insight into Tewers’ psyche through a primary acoustic-rock medium, ‘Cooped Up’ is as close to Withdrawals as Dynamite gets, far more pop-rock compared to the crooning sombre call of ‘I May Be Evil’. Instead, much of Withdrawals croons through a significantly heavier emphasis on electronic instrumentation and layering, doing away with most of the acoustics of Dynamite to instead lean on Dispose’s moody electronics and haunting ambience. The result" Well, it’s damn near harrowing at times.

Let’s take ‘Threatening’ as a perfect reintroduction to Landon Tewers’ solo efforts – forget ‘Something to Lose’ for just a brief moment and shut that out of your mind, this comes later and as a result of a far more emotionally charged payoff. Indeed, the use of ‘Something to Lose’ as a leading single almost feels misleading when taking into consideration the exquisite building tension of ‘Threatening’ and ‘Touched Your Skin’ that eventually culminates in ‘Something To Lose’, arguably the album’s first real song. ‘Threatening’ is exactly as it claims to be: the mood is tense, miserably foreboding, and delightfully conveys the implications of the track’s title, a horror movie-esque instrumental direction that does everything in its power to emphasise that this opening chapter is not one to a happy story. In other words, despite musically being a radical divergent from the blues acoustics of Dynamite, Withdrawals is exactly what it needs to be to follow on from what Dynamite established, and ‘Touched Your Skin’s perfect transition from ‘Threatening’ through to ‘Something to Lose’ emphasises this fact fantastically. Where the brief raw acoustic guitar appearance and foreboding synthesisers of ‘Threatening’ do everything possible to establish an uncomfortable unease with the listener, ‘Touched Your Skin’s gloomy reverb-heavy vocals through to full on screaming finally lets loose an aggression that feels genuinely unnerving.

Indeed, when ‘Something To Lose’ does eventually step into the limelight, soothing and softly delivered pop-friendly vocals and lovingly delivered entailments of ”you give me something to lose, this quickly finds itself contrasted with the exasperated frustration of ’I waited for you, I walked holes in my shoes, with dumb f*cking soul sucking leeches it’s true’. As a note, this is a description that finds itself very relevant to the direction of Withdrawals: “contrast”. With every step in a singular direction, Tewers seems very much at odds with himself, abruptly changing the direction of the record with little warning or apology. For example, with ‘Something To Lose’s two minutes of gentle pop-rock adoration regarding a third party that compels his attention, there will suddenly be the ‘Bad Guy’-esque abrupt shift into a completely new direction musically, with ‘Something To Lose’ instead ending on 20 seconds of sinister pulsating beats and synthesisers, before ‘Never Whole’s sweetly offered longing towards emotional completion takes over. It’s a contrast that seems jarring in the moment, yet breaks that gap between the two tracks sufficiently enough to warrant its existence, despite an initial response of confusion that the listener is likely to experience.

This again appears through ‘She Thinks of Me’ a cocky companion track to the already ridiculously cocky ‘Do What I Gotta Do’ of Dynamite. While slower paced and a little more sinister in an instrumental direction almost on the verge of jazz, the boastful arrogance through Tewers lyricism (“she likes the bags under my eyes, sitting in her thighs” or the blatant “she thinks of me, when she’s f*cking you) should easily cause a reaction of irritation or simple disgust. It seems very much ‘Do What I Gotta Do 2.0’ for much of its duration, with most of Tewers’ boastings being allowed free reign, but it’s where ‘She Thinks of Me’ ends that ultimately proves the most interesting point. Instead of more bravado, the final eleven seconds sees the track abruptly disintegrating with the inclusion of gunshot sound effects and a disapproving crowd of listeners booing loudly as a result, and Tewers’ simply atoning ”alright, yeah I get it. Alright, the gunshots. Too far, it’s too far. Let’s end this song now.” The effect of such an ending is immediately noticeable: the track’s potency in implying Tewers’ sexual prowess and “bad guy attitude” is instantly dismantled, and Tewers’ final mutterings are instead those of a self-conscious awareness that he has once again offended, meekly backing down in the face of social disapproval as opposed to angrily lashing back and continuing the song gunshots galore.

Indeed, any of Withdrawals more R&B-heavy tracks follow a similar vein, often thinly disguising a very obvious self-consciousness behind various demeanours that may as well not exist at all: ‘Sleeping in the Benz’s reference to the life of luxury implied by such a car sits comfortably within the chirps and pops of any typical mid-tempo R&B single, but Tewers’ vocal delivery borders on apathetic for most of the track. Sure, ponderings of ”tell my friends I messed up, I won’t do this again” certainly seem apologetic, but above all else, Tewers just simply sounds tired. True to this point, ‘Brush Street’s gorgeously calm soundscape and sombre vocal performances between Tewers and Chantell Moody, to the following desperation seen throughout ‘I Don’t Wanna Be the One That Let You Go’ only further continues the spiralling trend that the deeper Withdrawals leads, the less energy Tewers appears to have left to give. It proves itself one of Withdrawals strongest points that gradually creeps forward, and it’s ultimately hard to ignore that the album is in fact very exhausting to listen to at times. It’s only when album finale ‘I’m Good’ hits that a slight shining light has any hope of piercing through at all.

Closing the Withdrawals affair, ‘I’m Good’ (feat. Some Methhead) stands as the only truly upbeat offering of the album, especially when compared to its darkest cuts, and as far as breaching the surface is concerned ‘I’m Good’ is the closest to fresh air Landon Tewers is prepared to give. Similar to Dynamite’s ‘Cooped Up’, ‘I’m Good’ is an attempt to end the album on a slightly higher note thematically, and when Tewers’ gentle “oooh”s and jazz-infused final few moments closes Withdrawals for good, it is at least done on the briefest glimmer of light. Sure, the previous eight tracks may very well have rung some alarm bells to indicate a seething, deeply rooted collection of psychological issues, but Tewers at least tries to present ‘I’m Good’s demeanour as a genuine one.

As a whole, critically examining Withdrawals proves itself somewhat difficult when considering the overall nature of the album. There will easily be those awaiting the newest The Plot In You record with baited breath while discarding Withdrawals indifferently, but to do so feels extremely wasteful: similar again to Dynamite, Tewers newest offering again allows plenty of unapologetic insight into a psyche that clearly sits in a very unhappy place. Just as ‘Threatening’ indicates, this isn’t a positive or upbeat record, but those familiar with the frontman’s previous material should be well accustomed to this by now. From ‘Something to Lose’s beautifully delivered performance through to the gut-wrenching delivery of ‘I Don’t Wanna Be the One That Let You Go’, Withdrawals sits comfortably next to the likes of PVRIS’ All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell thematically, and is infinitely more potent an experience as a result.



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user ratings (22)
Chart.
3.2
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
Aerisavion
July 19th 2019


1685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Been a while, rusty as hell. Might be a little overlong.



As always, feedback welcome.

ButtBoy
July 19th 2019


4310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review! I no longer feel the need to do one myself. literally my only critique is using the word 'crooning' less.

Threatening starts like a Plot song and ends like an AI640 song, so it's interesting that he used in for his mostly-electronic solo project. And I totally agree that She Thinks of Me is basically a Do What I Gotta Do Pt 2. I kinda assumed that he wouldn't feel the need to write tracks like that now that he's all married and happy...but here we are.

Hoping this review gets featured!

Aerisavion
July 19th 2019


1685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha well spotted, I usually CTL+F words I feel get overused and missed that one, I’ve changed a couple now - cheers bud.



That’s the thing, She Thinks of Me completely shuts itself down in the end, it’s like he’s at odds with writing like an asshole because he wants to but at the same time doesn’t want to anymore.



Thanks man, appreciate it

ButtBoy
July 19th 2019


4310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yes, I loooove the ending of that song. It's really cool when his personality shines through a bit. funny, tongue in cheek self-awareness

AmbushReality
July 19th 2019


64 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Killer review. Listening to this for the first time now and my thoughts are really running parallel to yours. Love Landon, love your review.

ButtBoy
July 19th 2019


4310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

can we talk about the killer production on Touched Your Skin? The last 45 seconds absolutely decimate

Aerisavion
July 19th 2019


1685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Ambush, appreciate you checking - enjoy the album bud



Yeah the production for pretty much the whole album is really solid

JayEnder
July 19th 2019


4955 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Daaaamn dude you really pumped this review out in no time. Still, very well done. Perfect even.



I can't get over how good the first two songs are. Threatening is probably his best solo song ever.



She Thinks of Me is the only one I didn't particularly care for... but the ending with the gunshots and the crowd booing made me laugh my ass off. My thoughts exactly and Landon knows it.

Digging: Knocked Loose - A Different Shade of Blue

JayEnder
July 19th 2019


4955 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Congrats on the feature Aeris! Well deserved.

SteakByrnes
July 19th 2019


15500 Comments


Hell yea dope review brother, gotta check this when I have the time today

Digging: Windwaker - Empire

Aerisavion
July 19th 2019


1685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn, cheers for the response and the feature folks, appreciate it



Much love

outliers
July 19th 2019


910 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

nice review sir



album isn't nearly as nice tho imo

OwMySnauze
July 19th 2019


2000 Comments


Go back to Before Their Eyes [100]

ButtBoy
July 19th 2019


4310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

anyone who wants Before Their Eyes to exist again needs to seriously rethink their values in life

SteakByrnes
July 19th 2019


15500 Comments


"Go back to Before Their Eyes [100]"

Lmfao what? The band that had one okay album? The band that he would've gone nowhere with?

JayEnder
July 19th 2019


4955 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wasn't that Landon's christian band? Lmao.

SteakByrnes
July 19th 2019


15500 Comments


It wasn't really Landon's band, but yea

JayEnder
July 19th 2019


4955 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yikes no thanks. I'll stick to listening to Landon sing about how he wants to kill every member of Blood On the Dance Floor.

ButtBoy
July 19th 2019


4310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hope your cat develops cancer

I hope you get shot in the heart

JayEnder
July 19th 2019


4955 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

PRAISE GOD FOR SMALL TRACES OF MERCURY



FOUND IN TUNAAAAA



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