Two Thumbs Down

No solution worth savoring has just one step. No persistent problem has ever evaporated with a well-intentioned push in a single direction. New surroundings and heightened expectations are one thing, but reality and its crushing blows can lead to a lukewarm reception of this setting change. The difference between complete destruction and a calm demeanor? Only when living for those tiny adjustments towards a better life can the journey between Points A and B be fully appreciated. Enter Washington, DC’s Two Thumbs Down and their five-year problem-solving project, culminating in their debut album, End All Be All.

While End All Be All paces frantically around potential solutions, Two Thumbs Down itself came together from a snap decision in late 2018. While the project’s first EP Thanks for Nothing, Elvis materialized while vocalist/guitarist Austin Ryder was entering his senior year of high school, they weren’t a live act until he recruited drummer/saxophonist Will Diaz and bassist Lauren Porter five days before their first gig. (Porter has since left the group to attend college.) Two Thumbs Down ironed out their wrinkles and released the Nothing to Write Home About EP in fall 2019, zeroing in on an energetic brand of power pop.

The road trailing from Two Thumbs Down’s LP was supposed to coincide with an unforgettable summer playing shows in the DMV area, but 2020 had other plans. Lauren Records issued the album in November 2021, injecting sunshine into an uncertain winter. Despite its caffeinated disposition, End All Be All is racked with hangovers, insomnia, and a gnawing feeling of self-improvement eating through journal-entry lyricism. Growth isn’t a foregone conclusion or something willed away in a single move, and luckily for this D.C. duo, Two Thumbs Down’s trajectory won’t end here.

-james cassar

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