All Messed Up

Torture Chamber Records

Rating: 4/5




There are those times in a friendship where bridges get burned. The best intentions are pitted against bad breakups and misinformed frustrations, futile to the fears of the future that eat us up inside. Textbook gets that. All Messed Up is the kind of crushing blows we all meet at some point or another. Can’t look back fondly and hope for those same good times to come back around . “I guess I forgot to tell you everything I’m not” yells Dan Lysien on the opening track.  There are things you never tell those closest to you–holes in stories that even the sharpest private eye would miss. It’s the small cracks that bring people down. You wanna do good by everyone, but not everyone wants you do to good by them. 

You look back fondly on the past, you see the roadblocks that have been put up by compatriots. Lysien sings a song for every hopeless romantic on the Great Lakes. “If You Don’t Know By Now”  is a mixture of The Replacements and the Get-Up Kids in a brilliant and simplistic way that reminds me of the shorts, surefire power behind the Spitfire of WWII. The song was made to fill a purpose lost on bombing raids over the English Channel. Dread and fear sucked up into a heroism in the dark night sky that says “why the hell not?”

God, it feels so awful that it’s true on “Never Meant To Be”: “I’m glad to know you’re alive/and let this fairy tale decide/ if we were meant to be/let this fairy tale decide.” It patters out with “decide” ringing through the air. When you see your friend hurt, your significant other in pain, and you try to help and signals get crossed it feels exactly how it should feel on “Call You Up,” or “Missed You First.” What is it with Chicago bands and my heartstrings that they always seemed to be tuned exactly the same way? I guess I could blame Matt Allison, the producer on the album, but it has to be more than just that. Maybe I just find them at the same time I lose someone important in my life. Who knows. The guitar of Lysien and Dan Knapik shake my bones and boil my blood from my cold-blooded veins in the new winter winds of 2015 I wonder what they would have done back in October when this album was first released. They brush out my cobwebs and the pickled desires of my past on “Change My Mind.” 

Textbook pushes me onto my next move–its a tough world out there, my interpersonal skills lack from time to time, my negativity will be the death of me–but I know that wounds happen, and friendships may fall apart, but they can all be fixed in time.