Release Date: May 19, 2015
Record label: Pure Noise
Pop-punk sometimes struggles with a bad reputation, one of a dead genre desperately clinging on with a string of near-identical bands shouting about pizza and skateboarding over the sound of a few perpetually cycling chords. The Story So Far at once embrace this stereotype and turn it on its head, they know exactly what pop-punk fans want and give them ten times more. Every line is memorable, frontman Parker Cannon’s crisp, clean vocals ringing out over fast-paced, gritty riffs with all the passion and assurance of past outings.
Although it isn't as ambitious as their previous album, Bay Area pop punks the Story So Far have created a dependably satisfying listen on their third full-length offering. By making the decision to stick with what works, the Californian quintet have delivered a set of ten remarkably catchy and diverse songs. There are subtle and welcome changes to the band's delivery over the course of the album, shifting between the full blast of tracks like "Heavy Gloom" and "Nerve," which feature hard hitting choruses overlaid with Parker Cannon's signature belting, and songs like "Solo" and "Mock," which incorporate more complex midtempo rhythms and guitar layers.
A new band naming its first album after itself is a sensible move. It’s a statement of purpose: the purest vision of where the group is starting from before other influences begin to muddy the waters. But when a band three albums into their career gets around to issuing the self-titled release, the music usually reveals a major shift or a kind of reset from their expected trajectory.