You Swear It’s Getting Better Every Day feels to me like the sort of album that, were it released two decades ago, would net Kayak Jones the legacy of a band like Name Taken. Perhaps not appreciated in their time, but considered a classic in retrospect. Like Name Taken, Kayak Jones is ultimately a pop-punk band, although with a heavy dose of emo influence. While they aren’t the first to play the style, and won’t be the last, they do so in a way that feels refreshing.
It’s likely because pop-punk, for the past decade or so, has been oversaturated with cliches. Kayak Jones eschews all of that, and the record is far better for it. It’s grittier than most of the band’s contemporaries, not for breakdowns or corny death vocals, but mostly because Tyler Zhumov is one of the genre’s most expressive vocalists. The album’s heaviest track, “Rusted,” displays this well, beginning as an echoey lullaby before Zhumov growls, “It’s okay that they treat you this way” over a wall of feedback. It feels like an earned moment, like the only thing left for Zhumov to do is to scream.
But, when they keep things more straightforward, like on lead single “Lonely Codependent,” they’re just as successful. It feels like a cut off Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing, a perfect blend of aggression and melody with the catchiest hook on the album and a dream rock solo to boot. Perhaps the greatest testament to the band’s talent is that Zhumov asks, “Where did I even fuck up?” multiple times on one song without feeling overwrought or stereotypical. That’s one of Kayak Jones’ strengths; even if they’re not breaking boundaries, damned if they aren’t selling it.