As It Is When It Was

Weirdo < As It Is When It Was > Broken Promise

I freely admit that I’ve never been one for country-tinged slow rock lullabies and unfortunately the first half of As It Is When It Was is mostly that.

True to side-one of Brotherhood, AIIWIW is all-guitar; initially building on verses of gently-strummed melodies on both acoustic and bass, bridged with flurries of waspish distortion. The song’s second coda however – heralded by a flare of feedback – is a terrific descent into chugging indie-thrash; a wall of fuzz, bass and percussion that nearly loses shape but just manages to hang on.

The double-tracked vocal harmonies (a featured technique across much of Brotherhood) in the closing the streets are so empty at this time of night verse are very effective, as is Bernard’s little croon right at the end; much better than the crooning earlier in the song which is saved from dirge only by his emphatic, firm-jawed and snarling whatever you think of me / you listen hard / I will make you see (…woo!) lines.

An OK track, with some highlights, but overall As It Is When It Was is easy to pass over.

Rating: xxxoo

Available on: Brotherhood

7 thoughts on “As It Is When It Was

  1. I think AIIWIW suffers the same way as many tracks on Brotherhood. Underneath the muddy mix, bass too high in mix, awful vocal popping (use a pop filter for gods sake Bernard) and misuse of EQ – there’s a decent song.

    The verses are simple but effective with the acoustic guitar refrain. But the chorus’s should have been better executed and distinctive. The lyrics are fine but the delivery in chorus is not there. Also the ending is a bit much and everything is double tracked unnecessarily.


    1. Hi Al – I agree that there is a decent song in there. For me its the relative low point of Brotherhood, quality-wise. Others will disagree and that’s the beauty of NO albums in general… something for everyone 😉


  2. I agree Dennis. Just to add, this song would have benefited (probably more so than any other NO song from the catalogue) with being re-recorded. Possibly in the 94 or even the 98 sessions.


  3. Commenting late in the game here, but I’m surprised by the response to this song. Maybe it’s b/c Brotherhood was the first NO cassette I ever bought or I’m American and therefore somehow more open to a whiff of country now and then, but I love this song (and album), especially the final lyrics.


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