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Story So Far, The - What You Don't See Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 8.5
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 85%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.63
Musicianship 8.59
Lyrics 8.16
Production 8.91
Creativity 8.25
Lasting Value 8.56
Reviewer Tilt 9.06
Average: 86%
Inside AP.net

Story So Far, The - What You Don't See

Reviewed by: AShores93 (04/06/13)
The Story So Far - What You Don't See
Record Label: Pure Noise Records
Release Date: March 26th, 2013


There are some people who consider pop-punk a very generic and bland genre. Who can blame them? With so many bands that want to be New Found Glory or blink-182 sound-alikes, it’s easy for good representations of pop-punk to get lost in the mire by casual listeners and critics alike. This is definitely not the case with The Story So Far. After a few years of underground obscurity and a few EP’s, their debut album, “Under Soil and Dirt,” took the world (well, mostly just Tumblr) by storm as it showcased their unique lovechild that blended the upbeat elements of pop-punk with the driving rhythms and brooding energy behind hardcore punk music. I was both excited and nervous to finally listen to their new album, “What You Don’t See.” After getting very attached to their first release on an emotional level, the thought that this album would not match up crossed my mind and made me apprehensive. My worries were put to rest after a few solid listens.

The record starts things off on the right foot by serving up a dish of fresh chorus right away in “Things I Can’t Change.” It’s evident at this point that lead vocalist Parker Cannon and the gang have only musically improved since their last outing as Mr. Cannon’s vocals speak better than ever. He belts out the chorus with his smooth and improved voice, and takes a bit of a reprieve in the second track. “Small Talk” is the first hint of progression in “What You Don’t See.” It has all of the intensity of their first album, with a slightly different approach to their song writing that old listeners will appreciate.

The middle four tracks are the best on the album, and it’s obvious why “Right Now” was the first single. The opening line is infectious, and you will find yourself repeating “All I want to do is stay right here right now, there’s so much more to talk about” when you’re least expecting it. “Empty Space” and “The Glass” are my favorite two tracks on the album. Lyrically, The Story So Far is at the peak of their career here as Cannon sings, “You were the spade I used to dig this hole, blistered my skin to the bone and now you’re gone.” If “Under Soil and Dirt” was a full-blown verbal assault on a relationship gone south, “What You Don’t See” is the point of their intricate story where the band basically says, “Yeah, I’m still really hurt about the things that happened. But I miss you.”

The final track, and perhaps the most powerful on the record, is “Framework.” After all of the negative feelings presented in the prior songs, the band ends the record on a more hopeful note, summing up Cannon’s feelings by saying “Thought I’d burn the seams if they frayed, thought I’d prove the point that I made, but however long you’re gone, I will wait.”

You could say the biggest flaw that this album has is its lack of variety, and my initial disappointment in the record stemmed from this fact. After more in-depth listening, my disappointment went away and turned into joy. “Playing the Victim” is easily the weakest track on the album. The song itself feels strained, and Cannon’s lyrics are just a little too weak and do not meet up to the caliber we have come to expect - especially when there are songs on their record that are easily some of the band’s absolute best. This should not turn anyone away from listening to this record, because “Playing the Victim” is just a minor blemish on an otherwise excellent album. The band’s young age still shows at times. The average age of this band is somewhere around 20, so if you are looking for an album that is “adult-ly” and “mature,” this album probably is not the place to look. The issues at hand are very much those of a 20-something year old.

As stated earlier, the musicianship on this record is absolutely next-level for a pop-punk band. The crisp rhythms are well articulated by drummer Ryan Torf’s presence. Call-and-response guitar work by William Levy and Kevin Geyer adds multiple layers to the music that warrants this album be listened to with a good pair of headphones. Kelen Capener has also garnered popularity in his own right, and the production on “What You Don’t See” highlights exposes each musician’s best qualities in only the best way.

With this release, The Story So Far has solidified their place in the metaphorical realm of “The Avengers of pop-punk.” Like many other bands in today’s wave of up and coming pop-punk acts, The Story So Far has fought for every piece of ground they have gained. A true do-it-yourself attitude, energetic live shows, and great musicianship have propelled this band to both the top of the genre and the top of my list of favorites.

Recommended If You LikeUnder Soil and Dirt on steroids, Angst, Pop-Punk, Turnover, Real Friends
 
Displaying posts 1 - 9 of 9.
04:51 PM on 04/07/13
#2
FTank
I just want to sell out my funeral.
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Nice review. I really liked the album and you did it justice.
06:31 PM on 04/07/13
#3
AShores93
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Thank you! It's my first review, I was pretty nervous.
08:21 AM on 04/08/13
#4
parasonic
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I like the review. As for their growth, I would've liked to hear more bg vox with harmonies without forcing them as "pop vocal" parts. They def added more but they're so low in the mix (see: "Stifled" in the 2nd half of each verse, the overdriven sound would be so good there with +3db on that track). As for the songs, I love the record and can only imagine how fun they'd be live playing these tracks mixed in with USAD.

For production, giving a 10 is a little generous. The drum overheads are super crushed. I get that most people don't hear it (I'm a drummer and was a studio engineer for 5 years) but there was more definition on USAD. Nit picking I know, but I'd prob give the production a 9 (toms and guitars sound awesome). The closest to a 10 might be Hit The Lights - Skip School Start Fights. Even if you don't like the band, put on some good headphones, close your eyes, and listen to it. You can literally point to where every instrument is. Amazing separation, depth, and sound quality.
Good review, especially if it's your first.
11:13 AM on 04/08/13
#5
AShores93
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I like the review. As for their growth, I would've liked to hear more bg vox with harmonies without forcing them as "pop vocal" parts. They def added more but they're so low in the mix (see: "Stifled" in the 2nd half of each verse, the overdriven sound would be so good there with +3db on that track). As for the songs, I love the record and can only imagine how fun they'd be live playing these tracks mixed in with USAD.

For production, giving a 10 is a little generous. The drum overheads are super crushed. I get that most people don't hear it (I'm a drummer and was a studio engineer for 5 years) but there was more definition on USAD. Nit picking I know, but I'd prob give the production a 9 (toms and guitars sound awesome). The closest to a 10 might be Hit The Lights - Skip School Start Fights. Even if you don't like the band, put on some good headphones, close your eyes, and listen to it. You can literally point to where every instrument is. Amazing separation, depth, and sound quality.
Good review, especially if it's your first.
I actually gave the production an 8.5, the member rating is a 10. I completely agree about the harmonies definitely could have been more original, but I think that it's a solid start on that end for them. Vocally, I feel like this album was a huge improvement. I know a little about studio engineering, and I feel like the cymbals could have been lowered a little. There's times when I feel like they hiss too much.

Definitely pleased on all the bass on this record. It comes through so well. The version that "leaked" a few weeks before the release date was a horrible mix, the actual version is pretty excellent. I tried not to compare the production to USAD quite as much, they're both pretty distinct in that aspect.

I just try to steer away from the whole ratings thing, because ratings can be misleading and I'd rather people read the reviews than just look for the numbers. But this album is definitely worthy of a solid B, worth everyone's time to listen and keep it in rotation. This is going to be absolutely sick live.
03:36 AM on 04/10/13
#6
jamesmolloy
ole` saltine hands
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great review! i haven't listened to the album yet out of fear i wont really give it a chance because of everything else im listening to right now. Well articulated and thorough review though! i definitely wanna get to listen to it soon, TSSF is one of the best pop punk bands out right now in my opinion.
08:10 PM on 04/13/13
#7
jiggliotti
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I thought Playing the Victim was one of the more memorable songs actually. I would say Bad Luck is probably my least favorite, even though it's still a good song.
07:47 AM on 04/15/13
#8
AShores93
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I thought Playing the Victim was one of the more memorable songs actually. I would say Bad Luck is probably my least favorite, even though it's still a good song.

Honestly in the last week I've come to love Face Value so much. I think it may be the best track. Bad Luck was ight, but Playing just had something off about.
12:31 AM on 08/15/13
#9
matthewcherokee
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Dude that's crazy that you think Playing the Victim is the weakest track and especially that you think it's weak vocally. I relate to those lyrics so much I know exactly where he's coming from with that shit. If you've ever been in a relationship and you're significant other is playing the victim in situations that shit would hit home hard like it did for me. But word this album is sick.
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