The Story So Far – Self Titled – 19/05/15
The Story So Far, an apt name for the 3rd and self-titled album from the Californian 5-piece. It seems fashion at the moment for bands to be drawing a line in the sand in statement and saying “This is us, this is exactly what we’re about” and releasing self-titled albums in a sort of self-affirmation of their identities. If you don’t get that from the opening track “Smile” then I’m not sure what you’re listening to. ‘Smile’ assembles itself in front of you with pinch harmonics and dissonance until front man Parker Cannon bursts in to the fray with his barking vocals to complete the sonic package. With earphones in there is no space left unfilled, the sound is voluptuous and full with guitars and drums.
Rhythmic and instantly satisfying is the theme for second track and third single released on BBC 1’s rock show on April 26th ‘Heavy Gloom’ as Cannon barks in bitter resentment at his frustration at being “The one you cheated”. The chorus to this song feels like an anthem – I can already picture the shows with a room full of people bellowing the words “It cuts so much deeper!”. We’ve all been scorned boys, you’re not alone!
‘Distaste’ continues with the punk-heavy guitars and vocals followed by an element of juxtaposition with a slightly reigned in track ‘Solo.’ ‘Solo’ was released as a single on April 6th, and is lyrically vibrant offering a rhythmically pleasing weave of vocals, drums and guitar.
‘Mock’ and ‘How You Are’ persevere with pop-punk prowess and flex their muscles in the knowledge of the standard that is being demonstrated here.
‘Nerve’ has an interesting story behind the initial release (if you can call it a release). The band handed out demos under the alias of ‘The Skateboarders’ chased up by the announcement of the album release. An in your face chorus and immediately recognisable guitar riff ‘Nerve’ is a statement that has every right to be heard.
‘Scowl’ offers a short but dynamic venture through pop-punk virtues. Cannon along with fellow band members Kelen Capener (bass), Kevin Geyer (guitar, backing vocals), Ryan Torf (drums) and Will Levy (guitar) a have truly achieved a pop-punk triumph.
A welcomed change of pace comes in the form of ‘Phantom,’ a song that really sets it’s identity apart from the rest of the album. Chorused guitars and a much cleaner overall sound lays the foundation for a song that has a sonically gratifying sound-scape. Truly a shame that this song falls short of 3 minutes. Ambient and mesmerising to say the least.
After a short breath of fresh air, the Walnut Creek, California natives kick the door down with ‘Stalemate.’ Finishing at full speed is not always the easiest thing to achieve, however, through smart track ordering the band have most certainly achieved a strong close to the album. The familiar venom filled vocals from Cannon sit right in the forefront of the mix grabbing your attention with both hands.
A satisfying album to listen to, however, I would have enjoyed a broader horizon of songs straying away from the ever-present pop-punk vibe. Although, this could have been the exact opposite of the bands intentions. At times the album can merge into one long pop-punk medley. This is not to take away from the calibre and merit that is exhibited through the record.
The Story So Far, I’m in and I’m intrigued as to how the story progresses.