Kentucky natives Picturesque are a band intent on doing things differently. Born out of a post-hardcore scene that's often characterised more by aggression than accessibility, the five-piece steadfastly refuse to be boxed or pigeonholed, and they're set on embracing musical tropes not traditionally associated with heavy music.
There was certainly a good deal of excitement when Picturesque burst onto the scene with debut full-length Back To Beautiful in 2017. It was an album that introduced the band's unique approach to songwriting and blend of heavy rock with pop sensibility, whilst it also showcased the star quality of frontman Hollis, whose impressive vocal range and melodic delivery enhanced the potency of Back To Beautiful's songs. Three years on and following successful tours with Escape The Fate, Silverstein, and Tonight Alive, Picturesque are back with new album Do You Feel O.K?. But whilst their distinctive musical approach remains, as Hollis outlines, there's much about this album that's very different to what's come before.
"The first record was our take on 2009 post-hardcore, whereas this album is something new, and it's a style of music I've not heard anyone else make," he states. "Approaching Do You Feel O.K?, we reached a point where we just thought, 'Fuck it, we're not going to box ourselves in--we're going to focus on writing killer songs, no matter what they sound like.' You can hear that attitude throughout the record."
He's not wrong. Do You Feel O.K? radiates with a carpe-diem approach to songwriting fuelled by its creators' desire to bring something new to the table. Combining Hollis and guitarist Zach Williamson's love of Post Malone and Blackbear with fellow shredder Dylan Forrester's metallic edge, songs like opening track "Necessary" and the melody-driven "ATTN:" are modern rock epics that pay tribute to the Picturesque's post-hardcore roots, all the while showcasing a joyous eclecticism and fondness for more mainstream-friendly sounds. The intro to "Swipe," meanwhile, is pure hip-hop escapism that eventually gives way to a titanic rock chorus. Do You Feel O.K? is teaming with ideas, but on top of being a technical success, there's an emotional core that ties its 11 tracks together.
There's no denying that Do You Feel O.K? is an album with a dark heart, but whilst its lyrics speak of emotional despair and romantic despondency, so too do they provide the listener with a sense of hope and shared experience, taking an honest look at what it means to be a young person finding their way in a world shrouded in doubt. It's a smart, forward-thinking and innovative record that opens up limitless possibilities for the future of its creators, and a picture-perfect example of a young band operating at the top of its game.