(The Verge) -Just a fair warning to the readers of this album review, as I am writing this, it is currently the nicest day of 2013 in my mind at least. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and most importantly my car speakers have been blasting Pop-Punk music all day long. So if you feel that this review is a tad bit biased, then blame the wonderful “Pop-Punk Weather” as I lovingly call it.
The past two to three years have seen the rise of a form of Pop-Punk that blends the catchiness of classic Pop-Punk band such as New Found Glory with the Hardcore sensibilities of acts like Comeback Kid. This brand of Pop-Punk has been known as both “Easycore” and even “Pop-Punk Revival” but whatever you want to call it, this renewed interest has spawned some great up and coming bands that have already forced kids to stock up on pull over sweaters, baseball caps and gym shorts as we speak.
One of the biggest acts to come out of this scene the past year has been The Story So Far. Their 2011 debut Under Soil & Dirtwas released to glowing reviews across the board and was bread to follow their Pop-Punk predecessors as a future classic summer album. The album helped the band catch the attention of bands like New Found Glory and The Wonder Years, opening up on each of their tours and they were the only band to play all three days of The Bamboozle Festival this past May.
After the scathing success of their debut, the band released their sophomore effort, What You Don’t See. But fear not, this album is not the music equivalent to Speed 2: Cruise Control but rather has more of a Godfather 2 vibe to it. To put it bluntly, this album is the perfect precursor to summer. Listening to the album all the way through, you instantly get the vibe that the band decided against going in a different direction from their debut, which in my opinion newer bands often do and it can alienate their audience (Think about Finch in 2005). So it was a great idea for the band to keep Sam Pura on board as their producer for this go around.
Having said that about the album, the one problem with no real change in direction is that, a lot of their songs can sound the same at points. I often found myself having the songs blended in my head as one giant song. But if the songs are as catchy as they are, there is no real reason to nitpick them. Songs like the opening track “Things I Can’t Change”, are reasons why kids still pile into steaming hot parking lots every summer for Warped Tour. But easily, the song that stood out to me the most upon first listening was “Empty Space”. I thought to myself that this song should be the one that breaks this band through to the mainstream, little to my surprise it’s also the song that was chosen as the album’s lead single.
One of the things that helped The Story So Far’s debut really standout was lead singer Parker Cannon’s angst filled lyrics. The majority of the debut is lyrically filled with his view on slutty girls, friendships gone wrong and being away at school. What You Don’t See is just as angsty as their debut but you can tell that a lot less people have screwed Parker over the past year.
There is no question in my mind that The Story So Far will be the next huge Pop-Punk act to break through. It’s been a long while since the days of Fall Out Boy, Sum 41, New Found Glory and Good Charlotte were played on MTV and the radio on a constant rotation. With the release of What You Don’t See, their youth (The average age of the band is 20) and their run on the entire Warped Tour this summer, The Story So Far can easily be the band that brings Pop-Punk back to the mainstream.