Story of the Year – Page Avenue: Ten Years and Counting


Album

Page Avenue: Ten Years and Counting

Label

Self-released

Year

2013

For Fans Of

Story of the Year (duh).

Summary

Take a step back in time - you'll thank yourself.

Rating

80 / 100

For myself and countless others, Story of the Year were a definitive gateway band to the world of "alternative, emo and punk" music. Debut album ‘Page Avenue‘ was an emotionally-charged, lyrically resonant introduction to the Missouri post-hardcore outfit that left a lasting impression in formative years that eventually turned to nostalgic appreciation. A decade later, the band have re-imagined the album with ‘Page Avenue: Ten Years and Counting‘, a primarily acoustic interpretation that serves as a welcome trip down memory lane while standing proudly on its own merits.

In fact, what’s so interesting about ‘Ten Years and Counting‘ is that it’s far from a mere unplugged stripping down of the angst-laden gems on the album. While acoustic albums can fall victim to growing tedious affairs, ‘Ten Years and Counting‘ stays unique and expansive enough that it happily avoids becoming boring. Openers, ‘And the Hero Will Drown‘, ‘Until the Day I Die‘ and ‘Anthem of Our Dying Day‘ pack an immediate emotional punch while eschewing the intensity of the songs they draw from. Guitar melodies replaced by piano and understated, complementary percussion and strings create poignant settings for the vocals of frontman Dan Marsala; not requiring the bite they’re usually expected, Marsala‘s impassioned croon fits perfectly with the tone of the album.

There comes an interesting twist with track four ‘In the Shadows‘. Sitting well outside the spectrum of both the original and the balladry of the three tracks that lead up to it, the cut saw synth and programmed drums feel better suited to the dance floor than the moshpit. It’s an unexpected turn for sure, and kind of fun, but probably feels just a little too cheesy and out of place to really work in the context of the album. From there, the last six tracks deliver some truly stunning performances from the band. ‘Dive Right In‘ and title track ‘Page Avenue‘ experiment a little further with acoustic guitars, light keyboards and creative drum work keeping things feeling fresh. Fan favourite ‘Sidewalks‘ is a clear highlight – powerful, sentimental and throwing in a killer electric guitar solo for good measure.

Conclusion

If you were one of the many whose initiation to post-hardcore was through ‘Page Avenue’, this beautiful rendition is a must-listen. Far from tarnishing the impact of the source material, ‘Ten Years and Counting’ is a reflective, considered work – it’s not about whether one version or the other is "better"; the fact that both are as moving as they are stands testament to the versatile songwriting of the band.

Tracklisting

1. And the Hero Will Drown
2. Until the Day I Die
3. Anthem of Our Dying Day
4. In the Shadows
5. Dive Right In
6. Swallow the Knife
7. Page Avenue
8. Sidewalks
9. Divide and Conquer
10. Razorblades

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