British melodic post-hardcore sextet As Everything Unfolds made waves with their EP Closure in 2018, quickly racking up over a million streams and sending expectations for their debut album sky-high. Now about two and a half years on the band are ready to present their first full-length album Within Each Lies The Other to try and meet those lofty expectations.
It’s clear from the outset that a few key things have changed, all for the better. For starters, the backing of a label and a bit of experience under their belts has led to a much better-sounding album. The guitar tone is massive but not overpowering, bass rumbles underneath and vocalist Charlie Rolfe has seriously upped her game from an already excellent performance on Closure. In short, Within Each Lies The Other is outstanding.
There’s no easing into things; ‘On The Inside’ has a brief quiet moment before the snare hits and the guitars are driving forwards supplemented by swelling keys. This and the following ‘Take Me There’ showcase the style the band made a name for themselves with, adding a dash more polish and a better production. It’s on third song ‘Wallow’, though, that we’re treated to the first glimpse of just how special As Everything Unfolds truly are. The pace is initially frenetic with thick grooves and Charlie affecting a punkier snarl, up until the chorus. At this point the soundscape opens, the pace drops and her voice soars. The raw delivery of lines like “You turn everyone against me when I’m nothing but weak / You turn everyone against me when my world was so bleak” offer an emotional honesty that’s immediately affecting and easily identified with.
The star of the show throughout is vocalist Charlie. Choruses such as that on ‘Stay’ where the melody matches the guitar or the furious harsh vocals in its breakdown show her range and sheer power and it’s evident throughout she knows her way around a vocal hook. Instrumentally it’s also incredibly strong; Jamie Gowers’ drums are a powerful presence throughout, driving songs forward and Jon Cassidy’s keys swell or hide in plain sight as the song requires.
As Everything Unfolds’ intense, emotional core is always on full display. Songs like ‘Grayscale’, ‘One Last Time’ and ‘Wither’ are especially good at this, their humongous singalong choruses also shot through with a raw vulnerability. The latter two songs close out the record and are the sonic equivalent of an exposed nerve. Emotionally devastating, it’s impossible not to be swept up in their catharsis and ‘Wither’ ending so abruptly is jarring, leaving an emotional wound. Such an end to the album leaves a searching, questing emptiness without any clear resolution to the preceding emotional bloodletting.
It’s incredible to think this is a band with such a relatively short history and only a couple of EPs to their name. The progression they’ve shown up until now and the songcraft on display is top notch, with a knack for earworm hooks and an emotional connection that latches on and refuses to let go. From beginning to end, it’s a cathartic experience chock-full of lovingly crafted songs that tug at the heartstrings. By the time Within Each Lies The Other closes with the intense 'Wither', it’s impossible not to have been affected by the stories woven all the way through from beginning to abrupt end. This is As Everything Unfolds’ world and we’re just living in it.
Within Each Lies The Other is out March 26 via Long Branch Records