The Story So Far
Under Soil and Dirt


4.5
superb

Review

by YetAnotherBrick USER (28 Reviews)
November 19th, 2012 | 25 replies | 3,296 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Precise but full of energy, a collection of strikingly well-crafted and strikingly hard-hitting pop-punk songs.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

It seems that most everyone (all the pop-punk fans on Sputnik, anyway) agrees that Under Soil and Dirt is at the very least notable, and at the best, the latest pop-punk milestone. Some of the reasons for this are fairly obvious: the perfectly carved choruses that manage to be simultaneously intimate and anthemic, the presence of both punchy, low-note riffs and deeply textured, twinkly melodies, and the fact that in any corner of the album it's hard to find a songwriting mishap. But in my recent experience with the album, I've explored deeper into what were only hints and hunches during my first few encounters with it. As a result, the album is now something more to me than just good songwriting, good musicianship, and a refreshing amount of instrumental variety. It's another shoulder to lean on.

Now, I'm not saying I'm the only one with this kind of relationship with this album. I guess this is just me declaring my joining the club. And telling you why you should, too! Only four payments of $19.95 for an inane newsletter in your e-mailbox once a week plus a free lanyard. This album isn't like that. It welcomes you. It knows what you've been through, and it will make you feel like you're actually a member of something.

Let me finally quit beating around the bush. Lyrics like "I'd like to think that you're worth my time, but you embody everything that I hate" at first seemed wordy and obnoxious. But once I found how that style blends with other parts of the album, it all went together and made sense. This album is precise. Yeah, it's got straight-up punk shit: caffeinated drumbeats and pulsing powerchords. And it's also genuinely intimate: the choruses quietly crack with loud conviction. But that's where the preciseness comes in. If you want to blend those two things together, you have to be precise.

"Put yourself in my place for just one day,
watch all the colors in your spectrum fade gray,
more aware than ever that I might never be calm again."


Think about it, the general sentiment in those first two lines could be trimmed to five words. There's gotta be a reason they aren't, and there is: the fact that the protagonist's sadness, apathy, etc. is elaborated on gives us a clue as to why he'll never be "calm" again. Why "calm"? Well, your "spectrum" kind of implies, like, everything you see, right? So, "watching all the colors in your spectrum fade gray" would be kinda like watching your life go to shit, more or less. I don't know about you, but watching my life play out in that manner would first attack my calmness. We're calm more than we're happy. We're calm more than we're sad. Calmness is the true precious jewel.

I could go on and on with examples of lyrics like this, lyrics that make sure you know exactly what they're talking about. But hey man, the music does it, too. 'Daughters' is basically half-instrumental, equipped with a harmony that does a great job of expressing the same ideas the first half of the song did (incidentally, the song-half with the line "And to think that you're somebody's daughter - Away at college, not getting smarter"). 'High Regard' also has instrumental breaks that perfectly beset the rest of the song, and 'Placeholder' lays its foundation as an acoustic-based 'ballad' of sorts. Every note is alive and pulsing, but never out of control.

The album does seem to run out of things to say a little early, but hey, at least there's nothing it says I wish it didn't say. There are also a few crunchy transitions, and a few riffs and melodies that aren't exactly strikingly good. But every song has enough good in it to be wonderful: meticulously scripted lyrics that dig deeper into you with each listen, infectious riffs, and impeccable choruses that single you out in a stadium. I'm just not getting sick of it. Are you? You didn't say you were. You said you weren't. The Story So Far's Under Soil and Dirt: pop-punk for the ages.



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user ratings (617)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Aaron Arneson CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
A phenomenal, refreshingly consistent debut from a promising new punk band....

perry7united (4)
Fantastic debut album from The Story So Far...

Guzzo CONTRIBUTOR (4)
The Story So Far create an album that rivals Suburbia: I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing for be...

Dan Schultz (4.5)
Take pop punk and make 10x catchier and 10x better. Introducing: The Story So Far....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
YetAnotherBrick
November 19th 2012



4389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

haven't written a review in a while, kinda surprised this was the album i chose to come back on, but i've been listening to it a lot lately, so i've been having lots of thoughts about it.

and yes i know i abuse italics

ViperAces
November 19th 2012



12376 Comments


YetAnotherReview

YetAnotherBrick
November 19th 2012



4389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i didn't think there was too many :P



JackSparrow
November 19th 2012



1686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Love this album hope they don't disappoint on their follow-up

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2012



19444 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review and yeah fantastic pop punk album

Digging: The Who - Tommy

marksellsuswallets
November 19th 2012



4848 Comments


Will never ever ever get the love for this band...

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2012



19444 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sux for you

marksellsuswallets
November 19th 2012



4848 Comments


I also think pop-punk is dead though so whatdoIknow

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2012



19444 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nah bands like the wonder years, fireworks, and story so far keeping pop punk going strong

YetAnotherBrick
November 19th 2012



4389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you wouldn't think pop-punk is dead if you listened to this album

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2012



19444 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

word. such a good release.

YetAnotherBrick
November 19th 2012



4389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hopefully their next one will be the masterpiece. they really only have to improve a couple things

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2012



19444 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

do you know when it will be released?

marksellsuswallets
November 19th 2012



4848 Comments


I mean I've listened to it. It's just so juvenile and saccharine to me. The Wonder Years are the same way. This new wave of twinkly shit (Dads, Into it. Over it, Stay Ahead of the Weather, basically every other Chicago band) is about as close to pop-punk as I can get without getting a headache.

YetAnotherBrick
November 19th 2012



4389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'juvenile'? can you elaborate on that a little?

atari, they announced that they're recording, but no release date yet

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2012



19444 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@marksells,

u like the older stuff at least? New found glory or blink 182?

marksellsuswallets
November 19th 2012



4848 Comments


I mean it's a dude whining about his girlfriend through about 10,000 different metaphors, though admittedly a few of them are kind of a little clever at least.

I was way more into bands like Lifetime, Dillinger Four, Jawbreaker and stuff like that when I was younger. I got into NFG and Green Day and stuff a bit but not as much.

And everyone likes Blink 182 whether they admit it or not.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2012



19444 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't know why everybody says that about new found glory. I mean yeah i guess they sing about girls more than blink but i think people exaggerate it. Hell, the song my friends over you is basically saying screw chicks because bros are better.

marksellsuswallets
November 19th 2012



4848 Comments


That first bit about the whining was directed towards this band haha.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2012



19444 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh lol thought you meant new found glory



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