Recommended tracks: “Strange Habits,” “Hopeless,” Dance with the Devil”
Artists you may like: Dayseeker, Awaken I Am, SLAVES, Hands Like Houses
Kentucky-based post-hardcore band Picturesque (Kyle Hollis, Zach Williamson, Dylan Forrester, and Jordan Greenway) dropped their new 6-track EP, IYKYK (if you know, you know), on Friday, April 21 through Equal Vision Records and wow, is it a banger. The EP follows a several-year hiatus after the debut of their second album Do You Feel O.K.?, and fans sure are glad they’re back.
Written during the early days of the COVID pandemic, these six songs perfectly capture the feelings of uncertainty, dread, gloom, and tiny shreds of hopefulness that we’ve all experienced over the last few years. Each song on IYKYK lends its own emotion and story to the EP. For example, “Hopeless,” the EP’s lead single, was born out of Hollis’s experience of being taken away from his father as a child. It is this element of songwriting that truly makes this EP a journey.. and this was no accident.
“[Kyle] was taken away from his father and held and nobody was able to contact him…” Williamson said. “So we took inspiration from being stuck in this kind of rundown house in southern Arkansas and put it into the verses a little bit.”
IYKYK opens with the effortlessly catchy “Strange Habits”, one of the album’s singles that showcases lead vocalist Kyle Hollis’s versatility from the very start. Immediately relatable to listeners, the song tackles self-isolation and finding oneself in a frenzy as Hollis sings “I wake up every day wondering why I am this way.”
“Borrowing Problems” follows as a seamless transition into the band’s experimentation with elements of pop and electronic music. The quintet weaves powerful yet melancholy guitar solos in with an eerie atmospheric background, giving the track an ominous vibe conveying the feeling of being drained.
The EP’s lead single, “Hopeless”, combines elements of pop and hip-hop with strong vocals and distorted breakdowns. This track pushes the limits of the band’s post-hardcore background. Not only do the instrumentals and synths fluidly transition between genres, but the lyrics cover emotions almost every listener has experienced before, as is evident from the track’s title.
Picturesque keeps the momentum going with “Break It All”, which confronts the breakdown of a relationship with Hollis’s insistently catchy vocals driving the message home. “Watterson West”, on the other hand, combines a background of dreamy synths with elements of hip hop and is driven by a steady yet subtle guitar rhythm throughout. Hollis describes imagery relating to potentially falling for someone new. Through this song, we experience the fear and pain that still haunts him from the past coming head to head with the desire to dive in headfirst anyway. This is arguably one of the catchiest songs on the album and it truly makes the listener feel as if they’re in the dream of this romance along with the band.
The closing track, “Dance with the Devil”, addresses the pain of watching someone’s struggle with addiction and experiencing how it affects everyone around them. Hollis’s powerhouse vocals combined with some of the heaviest breakdowns on the album are reminiscent of the post-hardcore scene the band came out of, while some surprise twists remind us that Picturesque cannot and will not be put into a box.
The creativity of this EP is unmatched. Overall, IYKYK will thrill fans both old and new with Picturesque’s experimental style of post-hardcore. Listeners just dipping their toes into heavier music will appreciate the band’s way of threading elements of pop, hip hop, and electronic music throughout these six tracks. Those who have been with Picturesque since the start, though, will revel in their post-hardcore roots. At the same time, they’ll enjoy exploring how this scene can combine with other genres to make something truly unique.
“‘IYKYK’ is the culmination of a small group of people working to challenge the way this band and rock music can sound. Picturesque is constantly striving to never write the same song twice. We never want to sit still, and we never want to rest on our laurels. This EP is a product of that mindset and there is something for everyone who is a fan of rock music.”
The way Picturesque has put this EP together makes the listener feel as though they’re on a winding road with the band, each song a stop along the way at a different house party, the final destination still uncertain, but you’re excited to discover it. The result is IYKYK as the perfect culmination of emotion, creativity, talent, and expression.
Listen to IYKYK here.