If Kansas Had Trees
Where You Thought You Would Be


3.5
great

Review

by artificialbox USER (13 Reviews)
July 6th, 2024 | 16 replies


Release Date: 06/07/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Torchbearers of Wilkes-Barre emo put in a valiant first effort.

If Kansas Had Trees are not a band from Kansas. I know, I'm shaking in my boots about it too. I was all prepared to talk about The Get Up Kids and the connection between midwest emo and pop punk, but now I won't, because these rascals are from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Jokes aside, If Kansas Had Trees already have big enough shoes to fill without worrying about the gaping expanse of the American Midwest. Being an emo band from Eastern PA and carrying the torch for bands such as Title Fight and Tigers Jaw is no easy task, but IKHT comes pretty dang close to capturing the flag with their debut album.

Where You Thought You Would Be strives to encapsulate the fear and excitement of young adulthood. Savoring those last moments of familiarity before life trajectories steer you and your loved ones apart. A thousand possibilities at your fingertips and a penchant for feeling lost. Yada yada. "I can't tell if I am doing anything right, and I am afraid of losing everything" croons lead singer Joey Nardone as bright, fuzzed out guitar melodies punch their way through the humid air of summer. The dreamy-nostalgic alt rock influence of Title Fight really shines through on tracks like "Decay" and "Circles", but the band also injects a healthy dose of tappy American Football riffs and dorky midwest sensibilities into the album to keep things from feeling like an imitation. There are some nice dynamic builds and releases baked into the songwriting too, which are elevated even further by the stellar drum work. Take seventh track "Swallow" for instance, where gentle snare rolls and rim clicks over a bed of plucked strings give the impression of a sleepy marching band shuffling through morning dew grass before the volume cranks up. It's in the stop-and-go moments of the album where the band's musicianship really shines as they bounce ideas back and forth like a hacky sack in the smoke pit.

Unfortunately, much like real life, the youthful excitement of Where You Thought You Would Be lulls a bit in the middle, and gives way to mundanity and a feeling of being stuck during the final two tracks. Especially during the closer, the tapping riffs and sleepy rhythms just tend to drag on in a frustrating manner without ever taking off or feeling innovative. Thankfully, the first half of this album is so strong (and the back half is still held up by highlight "Stubborn") that I often forget how things end when I hit the replay button. If Kansas Had Trees ultimately got tackled 10 meters away from the goal post, but it's okay. They put in a valiant effort that put their team on the map, and made their hometown of Wilkes-Barre proud. Lets hope for a sophomore glow-up.



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user ratings (7)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
artificialbox
July 6th 2024


2064 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was a totally random spotify rec that I ended up really enjoying. Was kind of surprised that I had to add it to the directory as it seems like something sputnik would like, and it has a decent amount of streams already.



"Decay" is probably my favourite track here, but the whole first half of the album is pretty dang good, check it out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JB2HWVavYEk

Futures
July 6th 2024


11240 Comments


nice writeup as always friend. looking forward to checking this out!

artificialbox
July 6th 2024


2064 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks buddy ^_^

I also have to credit you a bit for reminding me that Tigers Jaw were from the same area!

bellovddd
July 6th 2024


6583 Comments


nice art! my boots are shaking

Snake.
July 6th 2024


25297 Comments


"Torchbearers of Wilkes-Barre emo"

*one step closer has left the chat*

artificialbox
July 6th 2024


2064 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

they are on the same team for sure! These guys actually played OSC’s album release show. Pretty cool lineup.

Sowing
Moderator
July 7th 2024


44137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I spent a few semesters in Wilkes Barre when I was younger, so I'm intrigued. Nice review!

artificialbox
July 7th 2024


2064 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks sowing! hopefully you dig them

Slex
July 7th 2024


16789 Comments


Gotta check this

Sowing
Moderator
July 7th 2024


44137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is lovely. Delivers basically what you'd want from an emo debut. Punchy, fun, very catchy. Could grow!

Dedes
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2024


10156 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Title Fight are from Kingston and Tigers Jaw from Scranton get ur facts STRAIGHT



In reality it's all one mega town from Plymouth to Dickson City lmao there's literally nothing truly separating them. Will check this.

artificialbox
July 8th 2024


2064 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I mean I did say “Eastern PA” :P



Hope u enjoy it

Shamus248
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2024


950 Comments


Scranton/WB native here. will check this out later

Dedes
Contributing Reviewer
July 9th 2024


10156 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ok this is uhhh really fucking good, definitely feels like American Football and the whole Wilkes Barre-Scranton emo scene was put in a shaker and these boys came out. This is so heartwarming.

artificialbox
July 9th 2024


2064 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hell yeah!!

artificialbox
July 11th 2024


2064 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is becoming one of my fav albums of the year. in the top 15 at least. back half is growing on me more although I still think the last 2 tracks totally sap the energy out of things and “Stubborn” would have been a great place to end it. I at least like the way the closer loops things back to the first track with a callback of the same question “are you where you thought you would be?”



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