If you’re remotely familiar with any form of pop-punk then there’s a very good chance you’ve come across The Story So Far. The California based quintet have carved themselves a reputation as the poster boys of the early 2010’s pop-punk resurgence.
After a year and a bit hiatus to re-energise, the band are back with their latest record, ‘Proper Dose’, and it’s their most ambitious release to date.
Opening with the album’s eponymous track, it’s apparent that the band never lost their swagger – it’s here in full fledge. The trademark heavy bass and drums are fluent all the way throughout, and Parker Canon‘s effervesent American accented vocals are there to be adored.
Fielding through the opening of the record, tracks such as ‘Keep This Up’ and ‘Out Of It’, the latter of which was a stand-alone release last year, keep the record at a high tempo and hark back to the band’s previous releases.
It’s obvious, however, that the band are way more polished. Their aggressiveness and grittiness have disappeared, and instead what we’re treated with here are clear cut guitar tones and a more melodic base that the tracks are built upon.
The first three songs create the base thematically and tonally for the record, with a heavy lyrical reference to self medicating. “My appropriate opiate has me out of it” and “I’ll define a proper dose because I’m alone and I don’t care” will prove to be all too relatable for their current, and indeed potential fan base.
In the lead up to this record’s release, the band teased us all with acoustic based anthem ‘Take Me As You Please’ and the poignantly bittersweet ‘Upside Down’. While at the time these were met with upheaval from the die-hards, these are actually the record’s high points. The ballad-y and acoustic songs on here are arguably arena worthy, and a complete departure from their previous outings.
From this point on, aside from the rather repetitive ‘If I Fall’ and the slightly bizarre ‘Line’ failing to hit the already established dizzying heights this record reaches, it manages to stay at a consistently high level, and will impress even the most skeptical The Story So Far listeners.
Looking at The Story So Far‘s back-catalogue, people have heaped praise upon the band for releasing three records that have defined a genre and put them at the forefront of a musical movement. However, there has been a criticism for releasing records that lack diversity from one another and, while at certain points within ‘Proper Dose’ familiarity tends to creep in, with a few songs tending to blend together, there’s no doubt that this is a completely different listen from the rest.
‘Proper Dose’ is a departure from safe water for The Story So Far, and provides us with a window into the band’s scarily bright future ventures.