The Story So Far present a uniquely striking and memorable blend of spunk and emotion on their newest, and long-awaited, album, Proper Dose, out now via Pure Noise Records.

There might be a tendency to categorize the band as pop punk thanks to their presentation, but that doesn’t feel like it encapsulates what keeps fans so attached to this band in the first place. They take their work a step apart from the pop punk genre, delivering a sense that’s almost more sober and reserved than the convention, although there’s still plenty of energy. They’ve hardly changed direction as a whole.

In the midst of their driving but jagged riffing, though, they just incorporate pointed emotional tones. Listening to the record; it’s almost remarkable, really how one can go down the energetic path and focus on the riffing and drive, or they can stick with the more meditative one exemplified by aspects like the mostly acoustic track “Growing On You” that pops up near the end of the album.

Although they wrap themselves up in a familiar packaging, Proper Dose feels as though it puts The Story So Far in a unique place. They’re almost seeking, it sounds like, to assert their place as mature songwriters and buck the strangleholds some less-than-optimal observers place on the pop punk genre. There’s no cliched, endlessly boppy riffing here; it all means something. If they did intentionally try and elevate themselves above the pack with their newest record, it worked. The band is here, and for those willing to take a turn with their music, they’re here to be listened to.

It’s almost remarkable really, how as a “big” band on a significant label who has put out a widely talked about album, they’re still able to carve out a unique place for themselves. Not every artist can do that. Although musically they take different directions, Movements comes to mind as an artist that’s accomplished something similar, and they went from one of the smallest stages to one of the main ones during the last two years of Warped Tour.

The Story So Far operate according to the same paradigm. Musically, judging off Proper Dose, they deserve a place of some serious respect. They’ve simultaneously made something that’s welcoming and accessible and something that’s all their own. It’s doubtful that any other artist could pull that off quite as well, if at all.

Purchase the album here. 

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