Album Review // THE STORY SO FAR ‘Proper Dose’
Highly ambitious and creatively recharged, The Story So Far return with their best work to date.
This might be it. The album of the year.
Pushing their boundaries and exploring new sonic terrain, West Coast rock band introduce their new musical vision on their fourth studio album. With a desire to find balance between the person you were and the person you wish to be, Proper Dose is an album that sees The Story So Far face their past in order to rise higher than ever before. And they succeed in a remarkable manner.
There’s so many turns and twists on this record that it’s refreshing and enthralling to hear. Without ever forgetting where they come from, TSSF parallel their old school influences with new aspirations taking their sound to new heights.
“Highs and lows are how I flow” says the opening line of the titular track, setting up the tone of the record perfectly as we embark on this exciting journey. Magnetic guitar riffs throw us straight into the whirl of expansive rhythmics as Parker Cannon’s anthemic vocals hit us with honesty and personal context. This continues on Keep This Up that flows on propelling soundscape which serves as a projection of Parker’s inner struggles once again. What’s more, the fluid tempo changes are just exquisite throughout the entire compilation and you can’t help but just pause from time to time.
Inspired by The Beatles and Oasis, TSSF travel further and deeper into new spaces creating a fantastic sonic maze. Binding their past experiences with a newfound direction and unmistakable drive, we get Let It Go which, with its melodic core and singalong chorus, demonstrates their ability to shape proper pop bangers. On the other hand, Take Me As You Please shows true growth in their songwriting, striking with pop sensibility and a stunning acoustic arrangement.
Past the “anger phase”, The Story So Far are finally ready to reach the “acceptance stage”. Reflecting on love and life on the road, they craft Upside Down, a definite standout track on this record. Full of soaring melodies and introspective lyrics, it’s a heart-wrenching tale that amounts to an entrancing harmony of layers and textures. Carrying a change in dynamics, the song hints at the well-balanced structure of the album and by the time it finishes you’ll find yourself singing along the lyrics “It’s all love now, upside down”.
Elsewhere on the record, Line is an electronic marvel that sees the band reaching for new sonic solutions, whilst If I Fall makes for a thunderous offering coming at you in true The Story So Far style. Plus, that guitar solo is just delectable. So is many other gems scattered across this album just waiting to be uncovered.
As we move towards the end, ballad-esque Growing On You shows Parker in a complete different light as he exposes his broad vocal range, whilst maintaining the emotional aspect of the song intact. And then we’re being left with Light Year, the final punch from the band that sparks with a relatable note, as we hear: “You aren’t who you try to be at all”.
On Proper Dose, TSSF allow themselves to reveal their fragile and vulnerable nature by finally acknowledging the baggage they carry. By doing so, they let us know that indeed, they have moved on and come this far but they’re still the same people and that’s exactly what this album sounds like. It feels both brand new and old, taking us to familiar places and places we’ve never visited before. I don’t know about you, but I am not missing out on this journey.