The Story So Far – S/T Review

Posted: by Dylan

It’s been pretty difficult to find the words to express what I felt about The Story So Far, but I think I’ve finally got them. Part of my problem was that there was (appropriately) a lot of hype leading up to the release, especially considering the decision to self-title the third release by the band. The way I see it, the album could have gone one of a few different ways: 1) the band narrows in on what they’ve been doing right and goes with the flow, so the album serves as a testament to their name; 2) they break away from the sound we’ve come to expect in an attempt to rebrand their tone; 3) they somehow manage to fuck up option one or two. Thankfully the last option is not what happened.

Instead, The Story So Far stuck to their roots and gave the fans what they wanted, which is basically more of the same hard-hitting pop-punk we’ve come to expect. The songs don’t deviate much from the norm, yet there’s a subtle difference across the whole album that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. “Slower” wasn’t appropriate; ‘Smile’ opens the album and sets a marathon pace. “Less intense” wasn’t it either; the riffs in ‘Nerve’ are almost as tough as that hardcore kid down the street who only listens to Suburban Scum.

The quality I finally approved of was “spacious.” After two albums of nearly constant in your face, stage-dive-worthy moments, the guys gave themselves some room to breathe without losing energy or appeal. The best examples of this are probably ‘Distaste’ or ‘Scowl’, which both have chuggy guitar verses that the drum work doesn’t overwhelm and choruses that groove in all the right ways. I’m not trying to say this is something entirely new for the band, just that it’s more consistent across The Story So Far. Take ‘Phantom’, for example. The song is airy and reverb heavy, reminiscent of ‘Clairvoyant’ from their split with Stick to Your Guns. The difference is that I don’t think that ‘Clairvoyant’ could have fit appropriately on either Under Soil and Dirt or What You Don’t See, whereas the new album seems to be constructed around the idea of finding a home for this aspect of the band.

Overall, I don’t think the album is the best release from the band, but they’ve captured the essentials, packaged them with some real catchy hits, and did a damn good job of it. The standout moment is definitely ‘Heavy Gloom’, which easily makes its way to the medal podium of their song catalog. If you haven’t already missed the chance, be sure to see them play it on the last leg of their current tour with Four Year Strong, Terror, and Souveniers.