The Story So Far

The Story So Far

Written by: LF on 04/09/2015 17:06:07

One of the most anticipated releases this year for me has been this self-titled third album from the pop punk heroes of The Story So Far. Maybe exactly because of that, this review has been a long time underway. The band's previous two albums, especially the debut "Under Soil and Dirt", stand as some of my favorite albums of this entire decade so I've been angstily awaiting this new record telling myself that it could not possibly live up to my hopes or expectations for it.

One of the qualities I find in The Story So Far's records in general is that they work so well both short-term and long-term in the sense that some songs will jump at you with instant catchiness and energy while others open up on their own time after more listens. This album is no exception with its instantly likable and somewhat monotonous single "Nerve" standing out to me by now just as much as for instance the more slowly working "Mock" and "Scowl". While it's true that The Story So Far's albums might lack variation between songs this is not really a fact that bothers me in the slightest as every song has a strong impact on its own. As such these three songs are all great examples of the fact that the album has its fair share of extremely catchy melodies that are generally supported by dynamic song structures and energetic, always evolving guitar riffs as well as myriads of lyric bits that will stick to your brain more or less immediately.

While The Story So Far are definitely still an energetic pop punk band, they also explore some more mellow and toned down territory on their new album. This mellow feeling is especially clear through their thematic use of the word 'indigo' to describe the feeling of not just being blue but in fact 'dark blue'. This pops up first in "Solo", which also has one of the best dynamic build-ups of the record, and then in several other songs, especially tying in with the shoegaze-influenced track "Phantom" on the latter half of the record. The song titles themselves echo this feeling, not least on "Heavy Gloom" that provides one of the early highlights of the album with its extremely groovy rhythm and quick guitars.

The vibe of the record is thus mostly melancholic or resentful in that particular sullen way that comes from vocalist Parker Cannon's emotionally charged way of straining his voice and yelling every lyric straight to your face. On that front, it's still business as usual despite the slight branching out of musical ideas that seem to have taken place here. The aforementioned "Phantom" is the only song that is markedly different from the other songs and has plain singing in a style we have only heard so far on the band's acoustic "Songs Of" EP from last year. With this and the general mellow quality that seeps through the energetic songs, there's actually a certain variation on this album that's a welcome new element for the band.

So after my obligatory initial struggle with a new record from a band of such importance to me, this self-titled record has settled in quite nicely in my music library. It adds some very strong songs to the band's catalog and branches out their style in a way that makes a lot of sense with their resentful, scowling lyrical material. While it will probably always stand in the shadow of the debut I first fell in love with, it's definitely a worthy release from one of my favorite bands.

8

Download: Nerve, Heavy Gloom, Mock, Solo
For The Fans Of: Four Year Strong, Me Vs Hero, City Lights, Man Overboard, Such Gold, Hold Tight!
Listen: facebook.com/thestorysofarca

Release date 19.05.2015
Pure Noise Records

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