Okay. opens with the second track released from the era in the shape of Pretty Little Distance. Its video set out the first filmed interpretation of the style with swing dancers dressed in 50s outfits and the song somehow holds some of that swing within its pop punk beats. The solo towards the end sounds like it is taken straight from a rock & roll track in the period. Fast, tom-heavy drum verse parts fuel the emotive lyrics throughout and the layering of vocals allows for a fuller, more whole sound.
This is followed up with lead single Okay. which gave fans the first taste of the era pre-release. The song features a soaring chorus with a slightly more punchy verse that gives a fuller flavour of the album that contrasts nicely with Pretty Little Distance. The lyrics here are deeper than the previous track as Patty admits how he’s “felt a year’s worth of hurt and sadness catching up” and clearly felt brutally low while turning this track from words on a page to a stage-filler as it has turned out.
One of the standout songs is Hey Rachel, which is written as an apology to one of the sisters of the members of the band (presumably with a name change). The piece has one of the best choruses and emotive lyrics apologising for not being there when she needed someone, admitting faults of being “selfish and stubborn” and “a terrible brother”. The whole song feels like it is in some kind of desperation to close a guilt and move forward in the relationship.
The album closes on a strong sentiment with penultimate track The Coast Is Where Home Is provides a sentimental look back at the roots of As It Is on the UK’s south coast which has provided so many new bands with a shot at the big leagues in recent months and years. This being followed by Still Remembering creates closure for the album. It acts as the slowest-tempo song on the record which asks whether it is “remembering, still remembering or forgetting” in terms of happy memories.
Overall, a step up from anything As It Is have released before. If anything, a whole album viewing of Okay. seems like the natural progression from the EPs before Never Happy, Ever After in the styling of a more centre-spectrum rather than the debut’s more pop-end style. A very good release that sees the band hit their stride more confidently than ever.