Written in a Vermont cabin with drummer Josh Sparks and recorded with producer John Vanderslice (Spoon, the Mountain Goats), the record shows off the breadth and depth of Weiss's talents both as a player and songwriter. "Adult Contempt" best showcases the interplay between Weiss and Sparks that forms the record's backbone. The singer-guitarist says he always writes with a drummer, and that creative dichotomy is on full display here — the drums propel the track forward as Weiss's broken chords bounce between the rapid-fire beats, his voice soaring over top of the proceedings.
IIOI's previous records tended to operate on single speeds, but here, Weiss pushes things to extremes: rockers like "Vis Major" rub shoulders with more ambient numbers like "Your Lasting Image." The decision to record to analog tape, meanwhile — a prerequisite to working with Vanderslice — gives the record a warm presence that was sorely lacking on the relatively cold Intersections.
Shades of the emo aesthetic that launched a thousand emo-revival think-pieces remain, but the influence really is more of a feeling than a sound. Weiss long ago found his own voice, and on Standards he finally captures it on tape for the world to see and hear. (Triple Crown)