If you’re a fan of pop punk and have been following it for the last few years, The Story So Far is probably a name that you’re very familiar with. If it’s not, though, let me enlighten you. Hailing from Walnut Creek, California, the pop punk quintet have released 3 albums and a ton of EP’s, some of which have been splits with bands like Stick To Your Guns and Maker. They’ve been featured in Alternative Press’s “100 Bands You Need To Know” list, they’ve done the Warped Tour cycle several times, and have built up a huge fan base over the last few years. They’ve been quiet for a while, taking some time out from touring to collect themselves and breathe some new life into the band. That breath has come in the form of their new record Proper Dose, which is exactly what this is. A proper dose of pop punk.
This album showcases everything that The Story So Far do best. It’s got big and loud anthems as well as soft and stripped back ballads, and they all sound bigger than ever before. Title track Proper Dose kicks off the album in style, showing us that they’re still the same band they’ve always been but that they’ve spent some time honing their craft. The verses are catchy and the choruses are enormous, which is something they carry through the entire record. Keep This Up and If I Fall follow that formula too, with the latter showing off some intricate and beautifully written guitar work in between choruses. As for the softer side of the album, tracks like Need To Know bridge the gap between the energy and the calm by effortlessly blending elements of both. Take Me As You Please is an acoustic guitar driven gem, slowly tip-toeing its way through hypnotic vocals and silky smooth chords. Not a single detail has been overlooked here – every single note is exactly where it should be.
Some would argue that they didn’t need to take any time out for the record, that they were perfectly fine as they were. I would agree, they were one of the shining lights of the genre and have been for a long time. That said, the time they took has done them a world of good, and you can really hear the care that’s gone into the record. Everything from the front of the mix to the back comfortably sits in its own space and has its own role to play in the songs. They’ve thought of everything. This is easily their most indulgent and well thought out offering to date.
This record is very special. It’s everything that you’d expect from them, but it just feels more together. More thought out. More polished. This isn’t just a record that you’d whack on your stereo on a sunny day, gather some friends and eat some pizza whilst you listen. No, it’s more than that. It’s an album you can get lost in, an album you can escape into. I think that’s their biggest victory with Proper Dose. The Story So Far are still the band you know and love, but they have evolved into something bigger than they were before. This is pop punk at it’s finest.