For Fans Of
REVIEW written by Matty Sievers.
That’s the apt description of the feeling you’ll get when you spin the new The Story So Far record through whatever listening device you’ve imported this album onto that you stole from the Internet. It’s not so much that the band’s self titled record is bad per se…it’s just not relatively great. These songs miss the mark, put down the bow, walk home dragging their shoes, order pizza and drunkenly call their ex-girlfriends in tears. And no, we’re not describing Drake.
The Story So Far have given some great jams over their career thus far. There’s the inarguable banger of ‘Roam‘ that lifts the adrenaline levels in the room to eleven and makes the house shake with posi jumps. They also gave us ‘High Regard‘ and ‘Small Talk‘ that strained our index fingers to the point of breaking. The last song they theoretically did was ‘Framework‘, the closer of their sophomore record ‘What You Don’t See‘, which was undisputedly evidence that they could write incredible songs.
On their self-titled effort, the band just seems to not really try as hard. Now that’s probably not at all true but it’s the feeling this record gives off. The structure and instrumentation feels relatively lacklustre and uninspired while Parker Cannon‘s vocals no longer have that same “edge” that they’ve had previously. When listening to tracks like ‘Solo‘ and ‘Mock‘, it doesn’t feel like the members are really playing and writing. On most great records, you can feel the musician playing their instrument and can almost visualise it. Here…there’s a lack of connections between listener and band.
At risk of sounding like a beatnik or a tortured poet, ‘The Story So Far‘ doesn’t start that fire in you that their previous work did. It’s doesn’t move you; not physically, not emotionally, not spiritually, not at all.
To break up the hum-drum negativity there are some pretty obvious positives to this record. Drummer Ryan Torf proves invaluable to the band here, being one of the reasons this doesn’t fall in a heap and become actually “bad”. His constant grooves and ever-changing time keeping creates a lot of depth on this record and doesn’t just simply move the song along at whatever desired pace, he actually creates dynamic and aesthetically pleasing sections for the band. A drummer?! Whodhavefunkit. Seriously, Torf hits harder than a Brent Burns hip-check (hey, they’re Walnut Creek boys, so the comparison seems fitting).
As well as Torf’s groovin’ splendour, a few songs here and there stand out among the pack as the kind of The Story So Far we’ve become accustomed to. ‘How You Are‘ has that distorted riffage interwoven with major key melodies to make a fulfilling track that doesn’t just sort of fall flat throughout its entirety. Another stand out has to be ‘Stalemate‘. The closer of this record feels like a throwback to their sophomore offering with a bouncy rhythm section, beautiful and moving melodies and intense filling riffs thrown in there. Layer Cannon’s mash up of hip-hop inspired verse phrasing with a few great notes and hooks and bam! Stand out track. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but by God does it put it to good use!
Okay, so there’s something we need to talk about before closing this review off. The lyrics…
It’s clear from the first song, and pretty much the entire record, that the lyrics suffer from a theme that is a common syndrome in music today – past relationships. Seriously, it’s been nearly five years! Five bloody years we’ve had to hear albums drone on about something that can never be changed. How many times have we heard it? A lot. A whole lot. And this record only adds to the the seemingly endless pile. We’ve had three albums on, for convenience sake, we’ll call “Courtney” and this reviewer is starting to feel like he knows her better than his own mother. And he’s lived with his mother his whole life!
Put simply, this record doesn’t live up to the beauties we’ve known this band to bring to the table. Unfortunately, ‘The Story So Far’ is more miss than it is hit.
2. Heavy Gloom
6. How You Are