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Issue Date: Saturday, June 01, 2013 Issue: Summer 2013 Last Update: Tuesday, June 25, 2013

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The Story So Far - What You Don't See Album Review
The Story So Far - What You Don't See - The Story So Far
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                Anyone who listens to pop punk quintet The Story So Far knows that their music is not for the weak-hearted, and it rarely disappoints. From their first EPs to their debut full-length, the band has never failed to please their fans, both old and new. The trend continues with their recently released sophomore album, What You Don’t See.

                It’s apparent The Story So Far went all-out with their new album. Parker Cannon’s strong vocals do not fail to bring the same aggressiveness that characterizes his singing, while the band’s instrumentalism and musicality shows a growth in maturity. Tempo shifts, guitar flourishes, bouncy bass lines, and catchy choruses – all are present in each of the album’s tracks.

                What You Don’t See opens with a full-length song, “Things I Can’t Change,” rather than a short intro track. Entering the verse, passionate singing and a quick tempo build up energy and anticipation, which are settled with an easy-to-bounce-to chorus, making it a great opening track. Drummer Ryan Torf plays out almost impossibly rapid drumbeats that change from verse to chorus to bridge, adding intricacies that are only enhanced with bassist Kelen Capener’s switches between sliding and bouncing riffs. As for the band’s guitar section, Kevin Geyer and Will Levy blend melodic riffs and chugging chords, as heard in “Face Value.” The opening of “The Glass” exemplifies their formulation of memorable intros as well. The layering of the instruments on this album works extremely well, during fill-ins, verses, and choruses alike, both in the presence and absence of vocals.

                While The Story So Far are as hard-hitting as ever, part of their maturation is taking a small step away from too much anger and angst. What You Don’t See does lack a breather (think back to “Placeholder” on their debut), but melodically and lyrically, the album as a whole presents a tilt towards a little more sensitivity. Even on the “Stifled,” which sounds like it could be on the opposite side of the spectrum, Parker Cannon sings about the trials of maintaining long-distance relationships and enduring their endings. This seems to be a recurring theme, continuing in “All Wrong” and “Bad Luck.” “Framework,” the closing track, is one of the best examples, in which heartfelt tunes and soulful lyrics are combined: “How’d this happen? / Found your way in / So distracting / Splitting me in half again.”

                However, The Story So Far retains their identity as one of the more aggressive bands on the scene. Despite any sensitivity that may have poured onto the tracks, they remain the same sort of songs that fans will stage dive to at shows, like “Playing the Victim” and “Face Value.” Each track will definitely leave an impact on fans when played live, but the single “Right Here” and “Empty Space” are likely to be the biggest hits with their striking choruses and impressively catchy verses.

                The few who anticipated The Story So Far would hit a sophomore slump have been proved wrong with the arrival of What You Don’t See. The band aimed to put out a record that showed their growth, determined to put out a record to prove critics and skeptics wrong, at which they probably succeeded.


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