IT LOOKS SAD.
It Looks Sad. have changed a lot since forming in 2012. Their 2014 self-titled EP melded the overcast day at the beach sensibilities of Surfer Blood, with the murky alt-emo that bands like Turnover were edging into popularity at the time. But the two songs that followed on 2015’s Kaiju 7”, the only music the Charlotte, NC band would release for over two years, planted them at a crossroads.
On Kaiju's first song, “Creature,” singer/songwriter Jimmy Turner yelps the hook, “I got some things to do / but I don’t wanna do ‘em / I got some things to say / I will never say ‘em, to your face,” intersecting shoreline slackerism with emo desperation. The b-side, “Nagoya,” is more akin to the emo-gaze niche their to-be labelmates The Spirit of the Beehive would soon nestle into, dipping in and out of focus like the 2015 Beehive hit “Natural Devotion.” Each song presented a sensible direction for an emo-leaning band to take during peak revival-era, but It Looks Sad. rejected both pathways.
In fact, from a fan’s viewpoint, they completely stalled out. The group didn’t release any new music until a four-song demo in late 2017, and their tour schedule was sparse due to a series of lineup changes that ultimately slimmed them down to just a duo of Turner and drummer Alex Ruiz. But Turner was writing every day over the last three years (“I don’t think I ever stop,” he says”), and Sky Lake, the long-awaited It Looks Sad. full-length out 11/2/18 via Tiny Engines, sounds like the product of a voracious creator. And in many ways, it sounds like a completely different band.