Review Summary: Fantastic debut album from The Story So Far
‘Under Soil & Dirt’ is the debut full-length release by The Story So Far, a five-piece pop-punk band from Walnut Creek, California.
The tone for the album is set beautifully by 0:51 second long opening track ‘States And Minds’, an instantly infectious guitar riff rings out, before lead singer Parker Cannon bellows ‘I’m falling in and out again’ as the song leads into ‘Roam’, probably the catchiest riff on the album and a powerful chorus later you’re hooked. Lead single ‘Quicksand’ continues along the same vein, it’s instantly likeable and with lyrics like ‘I’m trying hard, real hard, everyday not to lose my temper’ they conquer the relatability factor, an area where innumerable artists have fallen by the wayside.
It’s necessary to touch on Parker’s lyrics, while songs about bad relationships and cheating girlfriends is hardly breaking new ground it’s the sincerity in the lyrics and the passion with which he sings them that elevate The Story So Far above so many of their competitors, his voice is raw and powerful, lending credence to his words and making them real.
Another of the albums impressive facets is the absence of any filler, every song is well worth multiple listens. ‘High Regard’ and ‘Daughters’ are both gems that won’t get the appreciation they deserve, Parker holds nothing back yelling ‘And to think that you’re somebody’s daughter, away at college not getting smarter’. ‘Mt. Diablo’ is a re-release, having been successful on an earlier EP, and carries a compellingly energetic chorus, whereas, ‘Rally Cap’ bemoans ‘I’ve got nothing in common with anything, anymore’.
The album peaks with its penultimate track, ‘Placeholder’, the only acoustic track on the album is a captivating foot-tapper with Parker’s now familiarly heartfelt vocals intertwining breathtakingly with the enchanting main guitar riff, building to a crescendo as he repeats ‘Running around in circles, the path I always choose, I hate that I can’t accept anything more than the worn out soles of my shoes, just say something back, and cut me some slack, headstrong in the world with the wind at my back’. It’s a beautiful way to close out the album.
Modern Pop-Punk was a sub-genre laden with duplicates, bands who trot out whiny generic lyrics about being left by some girl, so they overdo the synth and chuck in a breakdown or two for good measure. Over the last few years, however, much has changed, a cluster of new-wave pop-punk bands have surfaced, led by The Wonder Years, with all the greatest elements of pop-punk, the catchy riffs, the attitude and the energy, combined with a new aptitude for candid, passionate lyrics. With ‘Under Soil & Dirt’ The Story So Far have propelled themselves directly to the forefront of what is a revolution in the pop-punk scene. So far, the story is pretty darn good.