There isn’t anyone that sounds quite like Issues does. Their self-titled debut record from 2013 set them on the course of success, landing them on big tours and a developing cult fanbase. Their follow up record Headspace shows their growth from their first album, and while is overall more creative and diverse, has a small lack of cohesiveness that, at times, makes the album more left-field than it needs to be.
Right off the bat, you’re dropped into ‘The Realest’, a groovy, jazzy, djent-influenced banger. You might have to question whether or not this is the same band from their first record. ‘The Realest’ has so much color and groove, and it just overall so definitively different from their other material, it’s a real refresher for those going in expecting their scene trends to skyrocket with their sophomore release. The trend of originality doesn’t last long, though, with ‘Home Soon’ feeling a bit safer. It feels like they tried to capture the sound they had trademarked and flip it up with more soul and the progressive vibes of ‘The Realest’, the transitions between verse and chorus feeling like to lack cohesion and sound almost detached. ‘Lost-N-Found (On A Roll)’ has a similar problem, though it isn’t detached, it still sounds too safe.
Remember the mention of the scene sound not skyrocketing? Well, that wasn’t entirely true. There are some very cringey songs on this album that try way too hard to sound edgy and relatable to the stereotypical scene teenager. Even the title of ‘Yung & Dum’ is so cringey (which speaks for the rest of the song) that you can tell that the band tried way to hard to be rebellious. ‘Flojo’ has so much nu-metal angst in it, though the chorus is pretty groovy. Interestingly enough, the band’s DJ Scout Acord even contributed vocals here, though it really doesn’t add much. In other spots, they seem to have sacrificed quality for the “wow” factor, such as in ‘Blue Walls’, which is, admittedly, a huge heavy jam, but the guitar riff is as far as the song goes. The heavy factor took place of the quality of the track.
Negatives aside, this album does have its fair share of great moments. ‘Coma’ is basically the quintessential Issues song. Fantastic and driven instrumentally, with samples thrown in there to cover the nu-metal side of their sound. Tyler Carter and his fantastically soothing and pure voice create epic verses and choruses, and Michael Bohn even takes a stab at clean vocals in the pre-chorus before delivering his brutal screams in the absolutely massive bridge. ‘Someone Who Does’ continues with the wonderful melodies found scattered throughout the album, before the album concludes with the combo of the out-of-place instrumental ‘I Always Knew’ (that just doesn’t transition well into the final track) and ‘Slow Me Down’, which closes the album on a huge note, the instrumental being massive and the bridge having a particularly great melody.
Issues have definitely come a long way from their self-titled album. There were some pitfalls in this album, but nothing that can’t be grown from. This album would’ve been near perfect had the bad tracks (theme-wise, such as ‘Yung & Dum’) been replaced by meanings with more substance. Issues need to hone their ability to write stronger songs, since they have their sign down pat. The only growth from here is maturity, and they’re already on the steady road there. This band has big things in their future.
Favorite Tracks: Coma, Slow Me Down, The Realest, Someone Who Does
Least Favorite Tracks: Yung & Dum, Flojo