The music world has been waiting since the release of 2013’s What You Don’t See, for the new highly anticipated self-titled album from the popular pop-punk group, The Story So Far. With the album out May 19th, you won’t stop hearing about them until it’s official release, and probably more-so after that. With their unique mix of punk instrumentals and hard-hitting powerful vocals, The Story So Far have set themselves apart from other bands in the music scene, and have especially developed their own sound on this new record. Sure to top their 2013 record 50 on the Billboard 200 chart with next week’s release, The Story So Far are dominating the music scene right now, and from the talent off this new record, it appears they will continue to do so.
You will get a feel right off the bat that this album is more a lyrical masterpiece with the band’s growth coming from their writing. The band have stepped up with their lyrical development, and the results are wondrous. “Smile”, the record’s opening track, is a superb example of this advancement in their writing, with the chorus of the song. “Are you blocking all the things that have to do with me? Is it easier now? Do you feel any release? Tell me how you fit in, and where do you begin? Do you toast when they toast? Do you sin when they sin?” This step forward in writing makes the record stand out more to fans, especially with a fanbase where lyrics mean everything. The lyrical craft and relatability of “Smile” are sure to make it a fan favorite, and highly demanded song to be performed live. This being said, the biggest critique of this album is the vocal diction of frontman Parker Cannon. Though Cannon’s vocals show a lot of passion, the difficulty of understanding his vocals can become distracting on certain tracks off the album.
The album has some intriguing, excellent, instrumentation tracks like the next song, “Heavy Gloom.” The song’s opening bassline and drum rhythm make it stand out and show off as the song progresses, The Story So Far’s significant punk sound. Similar tracks with this feel and expression of brilliantly arranged instrumentation are “Mock” and “How Are You”, showing off some impressive guitar riffs, bassline and drum melodies to compliment marvelously written lyrics. The gold medal of instrumentation tracks off this album though must go to closing track “Stalemate” which shows off all aspects of instrumental talent in the group. The drum beats, the guitar riffs, the bass melody; they all are especially amped up for this closing track that brings out so much power from every member of the band.
There’s a lot of great stuff going on in this album, but there’s a particular track that will catch you off guard. “Phantom”, this haunting, yet enchanting beautiful two-minute long piece will automatically take your breath away. The outstanding thing about this song is the complement of the chilling background instrumentation, with the remarkable abstract lyrics and vocals of Cannon. It is the only song of it’s type on the record, making it stand out from not only this self-titled album, but The Story So Far’s entire discography. This “lullaby-esque” piece of treasure is sure to capture the hearts of fans everywhere.
As an album that’s been long-awaited by fans, there should be no worry of bringing disappointment. The Story So Far have kept to their stylistic pop-punk roots for this self-titled record, and with the addition of their matured lyrical composition and some instrumentation fixes, they have definitely stepped up their game. There are aspects of both Under Soil and Dirt and What You Don’t See that can be found in the album, which should come as a pleasure to fans of the previous releases. This record fits right in with The Story So Far’s discography, and should be noticed as some of their best work so far. The Story So Far is a highlight from the albums released so far this year in the punk genre.
Rated: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Download: “Phantom” and “Smile”