The Story So Far

Songs Of EP

Written by: LF on 25/06/2014 16:25:59

Pop punkers The Story So Far from California, US have quickly become mainstays in the punk rock scene after two successful albums. While those of us who have been fans for a while wait eagerly for their third album to be finished, we can perhaps take some comfort in the band's newfound sweeter, acoustic side. This style was first showcased by the band on a split they released last year with Stick To Your Guns, most importantly featuring the gripping, melodic song "Clairvoyant" with its intense lyrics, and now they attempt it again on this recently released acoustic EP that is simply called "Songs Of".

There are five tracks on this mellow and bare-boned release with only one being a completely new TSSF song, namely the remorseful second track "Navy Blue". It features emotive violins in addition to vocals and guitar of the regular TSSF constellation and with this setup it creates a lot of space for vocalist Parker Cannon to really stretch his resentful, strained yelling to cover some longer notes than usual. The sensitive guitar work on this song - and across the whole EP - bears a lot of resemblance to Elder Brother's recent debut album, which makes sense as guitarist Kevin Geyer is a member of both bands. However, I have a hard time getting into this song, since the very constant "power" output of Cannon's vocal style, that suits TSSF's energetic punk songs perfectly, comes off as too insensitive in combination with the romantic instrumental side and depressed, confessional lyrics. The other songs are all covers, three of them of the TSSF songs "The Glass", "All Wrong" and "Bad Luck", all off the band's second album "What You Don't See". Of these three I am most impressed by the change in expression of "The Glass", which leaves an entirely different impression than the original as the pace is slowed down to a more groovy feel and the singing is changed to a much more melancholic tone than the strained, feverish angst of the original. Here Cannon's singing suits the acoustic style a lot better as he allows himself to sound more vulnerable than ever.

The cover of "All Wrong" is really just a 37 second cover of its chorus, but serves here as a sort of interlude leading into "Bad Luck", similar to how the songs are linked originally. "Bad Luck" retains the rhythm of the original version while making a few changes to the melody here and there and the change in overall expression is surprisingly minimal despite the very different acoustic setup. Compared to its brilliant, energetic counterpart it thus leaves much to be desired as it doesn't provide me with a new experience as the cover of "The Glass" does. The very last song of the EP is a dreamy cover of Bob Marley's "Waiting In Vain" that has its high-point in an easygoing guitar solo which is a rare thing to be heard from TSSF. While the melody is addictive, the overall feel of the song is strangely detached, bordering on uncaring, sounding to me like a slightly warmer version of the escapism in Seahaven's latest record.

Now, all in all this EP annoyed me immensely when it came out because on one hand none of these songs come near the melodic genius of "Clairvoyant" and on the other it also doesn't give me anything like the energetic punk songs I'm waiting so eagerly for the band to release more of. After a couple of spins however, it has grown on me and I can appreciate the band branching out and playing with other expressions than their urgent, energetic and bitter one. Still, I'm not too sure this release is of great interest to other punk rock fans than the ones who are already into TSSF but as a "for the fans" release, it does work fairly well.

Download: The Glass
For The Fans Of: The Story So Far, Elder Brother
Listen: facebook.com/thestorysofarca

Release date 17.06.2014
Pure Noise Records

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