Evan Thomas Weiss, commonly known as the man behind Into It. Over It., isn’t one to put out a typical record with each release. His very first release under the pseudonym was the massive 52 Weeks, in which he wrote one song every week for a year, and compiled them into a two-CD set. This was followed by a split with Koji, a close friend, that contained five songs about neighborhoods in Chicago, where Weiss resides. The most recent release is Twelve Towns, which pulls together songs Weiss has recorded over the last two years that were released on various splits, with each song taking the name of a city he visited while touring with Damiera.
One of the first things to take note from Twelve Towns is that there aren’t two similar songs on the record. Each song tells a story from the titular city that Weiss visited and the sound of the song correlates with the city’s respective “scene,” or style. While this is great for fans, as it shows Weiss’ range, it may be the only deterrent for new listeners, as the many shifts in style at times make it seem disjointed.
The album opener “Nashville, TN” is full of acoustic finger-picking and soft singing that sounds as if it’s coming out of a phonograph, complete with the occasional record scratch. This is immediately followed by the alternative-indie driven “Orlando, FL,” which contrasts the previous rustic song. Weiss’ voice, which bears similarities to Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service, is the only real connection between songs.
A personal favorite is “Brenham, TX,” which accomplishes the somewhat difficult task of mixing the indie-rock of Austin and the country and blues of Houston. It’s all the more fitting since the town is nearly the midway point between the two major cities. The vocals are the clear standout on this track, with Weiss reaching the top of his range repeatedly. Also extremely enjoyable is “Portland, OR,” which sounds the most similar to a DCFC track, with the use of electronics and pulsing drums; perhaps this is due to the band being located in the Northwest.
Essentially, this album has a little bit of something for everyone. Fans of Weiss’ previous work and voice will be drawn to this and find it enjoyable as he shines throughout. However, new fans, of nearly any genre, will find something here to like. Whether it is the acoustic “Cambridge, MA,” or the punk-styled “Washington, DC,” there is a track for nearly every style.