Story of The Year were one of the synonymous names of mid 00’s pop-punk. 2003’s debut Page Avenue, was one of the decade’s most important records in the genre and twenty years later, with the release of Tear Me To Pieces, the band remain a pivotal voice in the scene.
Opener and title track “Tear Me To Pieces” tackles metal health issues, with a mesmerizing mix of heart-rendering hooks and meaty instrumentals. Story of The Year have always been one of the premiere proponents of seamlessly sliding heavy injections into their (overall) melodically weighted sound, and the opener is, in itself a reassuring reminder that this attribute has not gone astray.
Throughout Tear Me To Pieces there are moments that transform the listener back to the mid-00’s. “Real Life” is a heart-on-sleeve, pop glazed anthem that screams singalong. Unsurprisingly, “2005” is another such throwback, with an unabashed reminiscence of simpler times offering a catchy if unchallenging distraction.
Delving into heavier territory, Story of The Year are seamless. “War” is a monstrous anthem, more reminiscent of Bring Me The Horizon than Yellowcard. The electronics that add weight to both this and the preceding “Dead & Gone” are not only catalysts of atmosphere and anticipation throughout the album, but also offer a stark juxtaposition with the stripped back, soaring melodies of the likes of “Sorry About Me” and “Use Me”.
The overarching achievement of Tear Me To Pieces is that Story of The Year have developed a collection of tracks dripping in nostalgia and abundant with 00s vibes, whilst executing a record as relevant and timely as their debut twenty years ago.
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