You’d have thought Issues’ metalcore-rooted, R&B-influenced, pop-punk-friendly brand of genre-bending reached maximum absurdity with their last few releases. Certainly the band’s desire to bowtie the most random of sounds into tight, hook-driven tracks would have them continuing to explore those same frontiers for more rowdy, smile-inducing bangers, right?
Apparently not. With their second full-length, Issues grab a whole new bag of influences (violin, anyone?), but more importantly, they are showing that they’ve built something truly original. Right off the bat, we’re hit with a slew of new off-the-wall-ness. The lead single “The Realest” opens with slap bass as backing screamer Michael Bohn's quick-hitting yells cue frontman Tyler Carter for chorus duty. Never mind that “Lost-n-Found (On A Roll)” starts with metalcore roots and pop-punk pacing; the track progresses into a key-changing gospel outro worthy of any Sunday morning worship service. That willingness to get weird while anchoring tracks with Carter and Bohn’s vocal aplomb will always work for the band. While Headspace succeeds in pulling those wacky influences and contexts, it’s Issues’ development toward a signature sound that’s most impressive and compelling. Sure, Issues tie genre knots better than anyone, but it’s an imitable formula—the band have evolved, delivering hitters like “Coma” that truly mesh everything together.
What’s most surprising is Bohn’s development as a vocalist. Now contributing both screams and cleans, he’s added another texture that’s the icing to Issues’ cake. On “Made To Last,” Carter’s hook might be the obvious spotlight, but Bohn’s feisty verses set the foundation in a fresh way. Suddenly the band are accessible while maintaining heavy tendencies thanks to two strong personalities on the mics.
Headspace is a little of this, a little of that—and that’s exactly why Issues stay on top. The ridiculous-by-design sound isn’t a gimmick anymore; it’s a platform for five wild guys to explore their every whim— and they can’t miss.