One11Twenty is an indie pop band hailing from Portland, bringing a hybrid of grunge, eighties and pop tunes to the present. With the release of their sophomoric EP Better Days, they demonstrate how far they’ve come from just Portland’s music scene.
One11Twenty’s songs have poppy beats paired with intricate lyrics and attention to production. Their lyrics tell stories and dip into personal experience, sharing clear personal references. “When creating Better Days, we used analog gear, which isn’t used as often anymore,” the band shared. “But we wanted to use this to give the project an 80s vibe while having a modern sound. Often times, production can overshadow the lyrics, but we didn’t want our lyricism to be lost within the overall sound, which is how we dubbed our genre of ‘Lyric Pop’.”
The band uses the track list to show a general progression in story and growth. The expository songs “Ellendale” and “Better Days”, open with an uptempo beat and hopeful beat, sharing lyrics of moving on and out (to LA). The band was originally five members but broke off into the two remaining artists, who left with $111.20 in their pockets. They reference this split in “Ellendale” and “Better Days” quite frequently. These songs are followed by “Night and Day” which includes a heavy emphasis on guitar and appears as a slower and more mellowed addition to the EP. “Night and Day” acts as a middle point in the EP and illustrates what can be assumed to be a difficult period. Following “Night and Day” are “Famous Kids” and “Hold Me Back,” which are full of electronic beats and excited lyrics from someone looking to shake off troubles by simply dancing with close friends. The conclusive song on the EP is “111”, which is repetitive in lyrics but nonetheless effectively expresses the melancholy tone. “111” is an excellent choice for a conclusion as it feels like the musical manifestation of a cliffhanger.
Timothy Jordan and Kyle Delfatti make music with purpose, and passion. Their music is catchy, and the lyrics are important. They think very carefully about the stories that they’re telling with their work, even saying, “’Better Days’ deals with the idea of growing into who you ideally want to be by adopting the life you want to live. The marriage of those two concepts really occurs between ‘Better Days’ and ‘Famous Kids’. ‘Famous Kids’ deals with being confident in who you are, creating a larger than life feeling, while ‘Better Days’ deals with being genuinely happy in life. Without one the other would be incomplete.”
All in all, Better Days makes you feel as though you’re in a mid-2010s indie alt film, riding the subway, whizzing past yellowed tiles, and watching your life begin. You can listen to it now on Spotify.
All images via the band’s management// Photographer, Nick Smiley