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Album Review: The Story So Far by The Story So Far

Guest Reviewer: Matt Dickinson

The Story So Far are up there in my eyes as one of the best bands of this wave of pop punk, their debut Under Soil and Dirt is one of my favourite and most played albums, and What You Don’t See, although not quite up there still had some absolute stormers on there. TSSF is a five piece from California that took the usual angsty angry themes of pop punk, but musically were a little harder. Their shows are always full of energy and with plenty of sing-along’s they have a broad appeal. The Story So Far’s self titled record leaked online last week (doing this and sharing it on twitter isn’t cool as far as I’m concerned).

On first impressions, it’s got a more mature, refined sound to the band – a little like What You Don’t See although I’d say that this is more accessible and appealing (I think I expected the world after hearing ‘Empty Space’ and ‘The Glass’). Opener ‘Smile’ starts out with feedback and drums that are just begging to break out into something big, and Parker Cannon’s vocals kick in just at the right time, it’s got that TSSF sound but it sounds a little more upbeat and a little more summery. Of course vocally it is a little less like that “and how can I feel anything anymore” being a prime example (that will be a big hit at live shows). ‘Heavy Gloom’ was released as a single prior to the record dropping, and was the main song that caught my attention and made me keen to hear this record. It sounds like it’d fit in on the last record, but has a more polished urgent sound that really works.

‘Distaste’ has a low rumbling intro that sounds like it could have been lifted right out of Mt Diablo, and is possibly my early front runner for track of the album. ‘Indigo’ aside from Parker Cannon’s vocals sounds like it wouldn’t be too out of place on a Balance and Composure record, it’s a more toned down, refined song, which shows that the band doesn’t just rely on aggression and big sing-along’s. ‘Mock’ follows on from this, and I have to be honest – I didn’t even know the song had changed. And this is the problem here, as it was with What You Don’t See – the songs that stand out really do, whereas those that don’t just blend into one.

‘How You Are’ has a change of tone and a definite noticeable approach to the previous tracks, it starts out slowly like it will be a mellow track then tears into a more jagged sound that we are familiar with from TSSF. I think this is definitely one of those that will be a grower. ‘Nerve’ is a track that sounds like it carries on the angsty pop punk track that the band do well, just with a more mellow tinge. It works though and shows they’re not one trick ponies.

‘Phantom’ is a definite new direction for these guys, turning into something mellow and more emo, but it is actually a pleasant turn of events as it shows that trying new things works for them. ‘Scowl’ picks the pace up again, with the kind of spikey anger you’d imagine from a song titled that way. Closer ‘Stalemate’ ends things on a good note, “I Just Don’t Know You Anymore” being a standout lyric from this.

For me this album is a solid 8/10. We’re not setting the world alight, but it’s a solid effort that I think will grow on me, but I worry that it’s all a little too samey and blends into a body of work rather than standout tracks.

For fans of: Neck Deep; The Wonder Years; Knuckle Puck


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