Review Snippets taken from Andrew Unterberger’s review over at SPIN
The story behind Standards feels cartoonish in its self-mythologizing — Weiss and Sparks trekked to a remote cabin in Vermont, “an hour from the nearest gas station, an hour from the nearest grocery store… no phone, no Internet,” for a month just to write the new album. Then, they hightailed to the other side of the country to record with renowned San Francisco producer John Vanderslice, who insisted the normally PC-prolific producer Weiss record only to tape. Catchy tune, but Standards doesn’t need it. The amount of isolated thought that went into the album is obvious from both the sweeping ebb and flow of the 12 tracks’ crystalline pacing and the lacerating specificity of the songwriting — Weiss lamenting his barely recognizable hometown friends in opener “Open Casket,” who “torch their 20s like it’s kerosene,” or summarizing the pratfalls of his scene (or his own writing) with “Blood as ink just prints as privilege” in “Adult Contempt.”
And just as importantly, the one-take energy that went into the album’s analog recording is evident from the level of performance Vanderslice gets from Weiss and his band. The addition of Sparks in particular opens up new dimensions to Into It. Over It.’s sound, whether he’s providing the gentle brushstrokes to give the snowy beds of ballads “Open Casket” and “Old Lace & Ivory” their base, or propelling rave-ups “Adult Contempt” and “No EQ” (the latter being maybe the first emo track to ever use a permutation of the “Amen” break) to warp speed with his frenetic stick-work. Tracks like “Required Reading” and “Vis Major” — which all but quotes the Hold Steady’s anthemic “Stuck Between Stations” in its guitar break — deploy a dynamism rarely heard before on IIOI albums, exploding and contracting on command, initially unpredictable but quickly comfortable.