Opening track ‘Smile’ sounds straight off their last album. The angst ridden vocals about lost loves and the familiar mix of bouncy drums and twinkling, intricate guitar riff are here in earnest. Unfortunately it lacks the punch of previous album openers like ‘Things I Can’t Change’. A strong, if not, world changing opening track.
‘Heavy Gloom’ opens with a rumbling bass riff courtesy of Kelen Capener, before exploding with Parker Cannon’s shouty vocals and bouncy guitar riffs. This one sounds like old The Story So Far so will certainly please fans in that respect.‘Heavy Gloom’ grooves and flows unbelievably well, going from verse to chorus and back again with ease. The fantastic rhythm section of Ryan Torf and Kelen Capener definitely deserve more credit than they currently receive. It also provides the first perfect “finger point and shout” singalong chorus, that is sure to cause a storm live.
After the initial reacquaintance with The Story So Far, the album loses a lot of momentum. Granted in the genre of pop punk, the scope of what can be done whilst remaining true to the sound is minute, but in the latter half of the record the band fail to reach the heights that everyone knows they can. ‘Nerve’ offers a slight glimmer of hope, but even then it doesn’t compare to tracks like ‘Roam’ or ‘The Glass’ from previous albums. ‘Phantom’ offers something new but again, seems to float past unnoticed rather than making you hang on every word like previous “softer” tracks.
With this third album, The Story So Far show that at times they can still write a mean pop punk song. They are still perhaps the biggest band in the genre just now (ignoring blink-182), but perhaps its time to change it up a bit. Purists and casual listeners will find enough old school TSSF grit to get their teeth into, but as a whole the album is very stop start and lacks the momentum of previous efforts. It was always going to be a mean feat to top their last record, but by changing it up a bit The Story So Far may have avoided the obvious comparisons. ‘The Story So Far’ is a strong, if slightly flat and predictable third album from our favourite Californians.
’The Story So Far’ by The Story So Far is out now on Pure Noise Records.
Words by Andy McGonigle (@andyjmcg87)