Trends change and gimmicks pass but heartfelt music never goes out of style. Thankfully that’s where Orlando, Florida’s You Blew It! enter the conversation with their second full-length Keep Doing What You’re Doing, a timeless collection of songs that reference independent rock’s storied past while still sounding incredibly relevant and focused toward the future. Put this album on and you’ll agree, things are looking better already.
Produced by Into It. Over It. mastermind Evan Weiss and engineer Matt Jordan, Keep Doing What You’re Doing sees the band — frontman Tanner Jones as well as drummer Timothy Flynn, guitarists Andy Anaya and Trevor O’Hare — moving on from their dorm room roots and recognizing their true potential as an act at the forefront of a like-minded musical community. “Everything we’ve ever done is a reflection of all of our interests,” Jones explains. “They all converge to form something totally different which is the beauty of this collaboration and the band in general.”
However even the members of You Blew It! had doubts about the outcome of Keep Doing What You’re Doing when their previous bassist quit a month before they entered the studio. “Evan really came to the rescue and made the record by agreeing to play bass at the last minute,” Jones says, adding that Weiss instantly started rewriting the bass parts to give added depth to these songs. “He took the ideas that we had for these collaborations and tied them together,” he elaborates. “There is no chance this album would have come out this way without his involvement.”
Although the time signatures, unique tunings and idiosyncratic guitar interplay evoke the genre’s forefathers like American Football and The Get Up Kids, driving yet melodic songs like “Award Of The Year Award” seamlessly blend into cathartic rockers like “House Address” to form an album that’s remarkably cohesive without relying on the same sonic tricks. “One song I’m especially proud of is ‘Better To Best’ because it’s sort of a new direction for us musically but it’s still-rooted in all the bands we love,” Jones explains. “It’s definitely our most anthemic song and I think it’s something that might surprise a lot of our fans in a good way.”
Lyrically, Keep Doing What You’re Doing is also a huge progression for the band and sees Jones getting more personal and introspective than he ever has in the past. “I was driving with my girlfriend talking out loud about the fact that I was finally happy for the first time in my life and that was hindering the lyrics for “Better To Best” and she basically called me a moron and told me to try writing a happy song,” he recalls with a laugh. This type of perspective is dripping all over lines like, “Maybe things aren’t quite as bad as I let myself believe,” which, come to think of it, also serve as a summary of the album as a whole. “I’m learning to roll with the punches even though I’m the one throwing the punches if that makes any sense,” he adds.
While it’s helpful that the band’s peers and influences are in the spotlight, You Blew It! have always been conscious to never box themselves in as evidenced by the fact they’ve toured with everyone from Motion City Soundtrack to Less Than Jake, cultivating relationships with acts far outside their genre. “We’ve sometimes been pigeonholed by other people in the past but I feel like regardless of what’s happening culturally that’s going to be impossible to do if people listen to this album because we really stepped out of our comfort zone to do something different,” Jones explains. “It’s great to see people excited about the music we’re making but we want to make sure that they stick around regardless of whatever trends are in vogue because we plan on being here for a long time.” Ultimately what you see is what you get with Keep Doing What You’re Doing in the sense that the album is the antithesis of AutoTune. Instead it’s an honest and raw representation of a group of musicians entering the next phase of their lives and embarking on adulthood with their heads held high and instruments cradled close. “This band has always been more about friendship than business,” Jones explains, adding that this rule is as true for the relationship between the members as it is their label, Topshelf Records. “We are just so proud of this collection of songs and can’t wait to share it with everyone on the road. It really feels like this is something special and we don’t want to keep it to ourselves anymore.”