It’s okay for things to end. There doesn’t always need to be a new beginning either. Instead, you can just pick up and keep moving. You’ll probably be better off for it. Sonically and spiritually, The Plot In You continue to move forward on their fifth full-length album and second for Fearless Records, Swan Song. The Ohio quartet— Landon Tewers [vocals], Josh Childress [guitar], Ethan Yoder [bass], and Michael Cooper [drums]—stare down years of negativity, soured friendships, disappointment, and mistakes and flush it all away in the wake of hammering distortion, towering melodies, cinematic production, and unapologetically cathartic lyrics. After racking up over 100 million streams and receiving praise from Billboard, Rock Sound, Alternative Press, and more, the group wave off darkness with unassuming confidence and clarity.
“The album is about the end of things, the end of friendships, the end of relationships, and the end of people’s lives,” admits Landon. “There’s not a whole lot of hope. On the other side of it, my life is in a way more positive place now. I said, ‘Alright, this is all of the bullshit I can conjure up in my life. Goodbye’. It was therapeutic to dispense all of these painful things from the past and wash out the negativity.”
They certainly earned the right to do so. Ascending to the apex of an eight-year grind, the band reached critical mass on 2018’s DISPOSE. The standout “FEEL NOTHING” exploded with 28 million US streams, while the project eclipsed 55 million US streams. Billboard raved, “DISPOSE is the band’s most polished and cohesive work to date,” and Alternative Press noted, “DISPOSE makes it clear that TPIY challenge both the listeners and themselves more and more with each release.” Grading the album “9.0-out-of-10,” Rock Sound predicted it “should finally – and deservedly – make The Plot In You a name that everyone knows.” They supported the record by hitting the road with Underoath, The Amity Affliction, Like Moths To Flames, Sum 41, and more.
During late 2019, Landon started to kick around ideas for what would become Swan Song. By the time the Global Pandemic swallowed 2020 whole, he found himself with an entire year to finetune. Taking the reins as producer, the album came to life in his Michigan studio.
“I was nowhere near being done with it when the Pandemic started,” he admits. “It was nice to have the extra time. If I got stuck on an idea, I could take a week off and come back with a fresh ear. In terms of subject matter, it concerns friends who got into drug abuse super bad and friends I’ve lost. There are songs about my weaknesses in relationships. I didn’t really stick to one theme. As a producer, I felt confident enough to take on all of the work. I decided rather than punishing someone else, it was best to do it myself,” he laughs.
Introducing Swan Song, the first single “Face Me” pairs clean vocals with stark icy production punctuated by a glitchy beat. It spirals into a soaring hook uplifted by a sinewy guitar riff.
“I was in a place in life where things just did not seem like they were working out,” he explains. “You’re feeling lost, but then you meet someone who is so put together. You’re in a rough place, and you don’t want to drag this other person down. At the same time, you want to hold on to this new special thing. You realize you have to let go of something beautiful sometimes.”
Warped distortion howls as warbling vocal transmissions echo through “Paradigm.” A stomping groove rushes right into another chantable chorus “about how fans of entertainment look up to creators like gods, but it’s a very toxic thing since the people you idolize don’t care about you.” Then, there’s “Fall Again.” It cuts ties with a searing scream, “If you fall again, then you’re on your own.”
“It’s probably the darkest track on the record,” he sighs. “I had a friend who was really wrapped up in the drug world—the business side and as a severe user. He was bringing everyone down around him. He got sucked into that lifestyle very hardcore and ended up losing his life. You can’t latch on to people who are damaging and potentially harmful. You have to save yourself.”
“Too Heavy” leans into melodic delivery backed by airy electronics as he details “holding on to a relationship that’s falling apart for dear life.” Meanwhile, “Too Far Gone” culminates on another resounding refrain evocative of the band’s range.
“It’s a lot of self-realization,” he observes. “You get to the breaking point. Someone’s honest enough with you about certain things, and you realize you’ve gone a lot farther down the rabbit hole than you ever imagined.”
In the end, The Plot In You might just help you move forward too.
“This is therapy,” he leaves off. “It’s like how people keep journals. This is me being completely honest.”