A self titled generally means one of two things. It can be a band’s debut record, saying this is us, take notice. Or, what is more interesting, is when the self titled record comes out later in the bands career. When this happens, prick up your ears, because this is where it gets serious.
Such is the case with The Story So Far‘s latest album, which sees the band taking their largest step forward in maturity and in sound. Signifying that they’re here to stay, and being loud about it, the pop-punk titans give us ten tracks of intense emotion with the tightness that only comes when a band has been together for a certain period of time.
The driving force behind the album is not only lead vocalist Parker Cannon, but also his lyrics. Lyrics are always important when it comes to pop-punk, and on this album they hit the mark, time after time, song after song.
Cannon has clearly been through a particularly bitter break up, and the result is this album. Albeit, carried by the huge guitars and driving beat of the band behind him, Cannon is leading the charge on this album and the force that follows is electrifying. From opener ‘Smile’ straight through to the final chords of the last song, the record doesn’t give up. Not even the ballad-esque ‘Phantom’ hinders it’s pace, merely adding depth to the tracklist. Reverb and distant drums kick the album into gear, before Cannon bellows “I know it’s been a while / but I won’t fight this stupid smile”, and from there the record shifts into gear.
The chorus on ‘Nerve’ starts with the phrase so many of us have uttered so many times; “Why are you leaving?”. An from there comes the rest of the catchy chorus, something that is expected of TSSF. But that’s what they do, create something out of nothing. Their sound hasn’t vastly changed in their tenure, but The Story So Far are now leaders in their niche scene, and it’s truly because of this talent they have. Every single one of their songs has something you can nod along to, relate to, or sing along to. Usually all three.
The aforementioned ‘Phantom’ may be the slowest song on the album, but it nearly packs the biggest punch. But that trophy is left for the following track, ‘Scowl’, which kicks everything back up to speed without a moments hesitation. Closer ‘Stalemate’ hits home the same point that the album has been hitting at, as Cannon repeats the phrase “can’t ignore, won’t ignore / that I don’t know you anymore”. There’s a pain in his voice as he roars this, one that’s all too real.
There are only so many ways to say that this is a great album, but the best way to put it is this: The Story So Far believed in this enough to stick their name on it twice. This is pop-punk the way it should be – in your face, visceral and relatable as hell.
– Chris Droney
Venue: The Story So Far
Support Band: Pure Noise Records