The Story So Far released their third album, a self titled, on the 19th of May 2015. Aggressive, sorrowful and punchy, this album has all the usual The Story So Far ingredients but with a cleaner and more timid side to it that we haven’t heard from them before.
First track ‘Smile’ starts off with an atmospheric intro that builds up before breaking into right-the-in-face pop punk. “How can I feel anything anymore?” singer Parker Cannon asks, sounding tired and close to giving up, which results in a softening effect of the track. The album as a whole has an air of defeat about it. The lyrics throw shade around, pitting the blame on anyone and everything else. It begs for a shift in their mindset, and opens it up for a maturity that can perhaps show up in their next album. Not that this album is particularly juvenile, it’s definitely on a higher level of maturity than the last album, despite the fact that the lyrics subject hasn’t changed much over the years; bitter unrequited love and regret is still a major factor.
After their usual pop-punk vibes, they slow things down a bit with ‘Phantom’, a toned down mournful ballad, showing off Parker Cannon’s matured and cleared up vocals. It’s a somber track but it’s nice amid the rush of the other songs. The final track ‘Stalemate’ is aptly named; it doesn’t act so much as an album ender, but seems to be more of a block that they just couldn’t get past. It would be fitting for the end of side one of a tape, but without the side two it’s left very open ended.
Personally, it’s the drumming of Ryan Torf that by far stands out on this album. He shakes up the standard pop punk formula with added passion and brings the intricacy of the album to the next level.
It’s a pretty niche album, catering more for their current audience rather than an effort to drag new listeners in. But they’re still one of the best in the genre, and why change a formula that works so well and has got them as far as they are today? It’s gritty, passionate, and clean, and what more could you want!
Words by Lissa