Pop-punk has evolved so many times since its existence, and we now sit in a world of new bands coming through the system that are hitting that same tune, with the same raspy vocals, baggy t-shirts and backwards caps. All these newcomers want to be one band: The Story So Far.
After two solid albums and uncountable EPs, the Californians are back with an eponymous album and, although they fail to capture the same catchy chorus perfection of their previous material, ‘The Story So Far’ is a fun listen with the raw edge that has created the band’s legacy to date.
‘Smile’ opens the new album with a vicious streak that pop-punk fans hold on to so dearly, and it seems that TSSF are on for an easy ride to their third complete album. The ingredients the band have been cooking with for years are all here, but they aren’t flowing as smoothly as they have been.
‘How Are You’ has the great build up and same Parker Cannon croaky pipes that strain to hit the notes, and ‘Mock’ plays with some fun distant singing, yet they’re just not as instantly memorable as almost all of the tracks on ‘Under Soil And Dirt’ and ‘What You Don’t See’. ‘Heavy Gloom’ even has a sweet hook within the chorus, but it doesn’t stick to the brain like it should.
Not to say that ‘The Story So Far’ isn’t a good album, it certainly is; ‘Distaste’ could have had three choruses packed into it, and highlights the treasures the band have brought to the genre. Most of the songs are enjoyable and fun to listen to, but just don’t stand out to the standard the band have set and certainly won’t have hundreds of fans singing along to the lyrics at a rock night. ‘Nerve’ and ‘Scowl’ are decent listens, but perhaps TSSF have been their own downfall and we expect too much.
Pop-punk definitely isn’t dead, but more is needed from the new leaders of the industry. Fans quickly forget you if you don’t keep up, and there are so many bands sounding just like this these days that one might pop up with a huge groundbreaker this year, and they’ll be one more step up the ladder grabbing at the feet of stardom. One for the die-hards.
Written by Michael Heath (@MikeBeef)