REVIEW: The Story So Far/Stick To Your Guns Split EP


Artist: The Story So Far/Stick To Your Guns
Album: The Story So Far/Stick To Your Guns Split EP
Genre: Hardcore/Pop-punk
Label: Pure Noise Records

Since mankind’s humble beginnings, there have always been unbeatable combinations–peanut butter and jelly, Batman and Robin, salt and pepper–the list goes on. However, it would seem that there will soon be another supreme duo to be reckoned with.

I am of course referring to The Story So Far/Stick To Your Guns Split EP, the highly anticipated joint effort of the two-California based acts, which is set to drop this upcoming Tuesday, June 18, via Pure Noise Records.

Still riding off the success of their jaw-dropping LP What You Don’t See, which was released barely three months ago and peaked at number 46 on The Billboard 200, The Story So Far are already at it again, this time showing off their softer side. The Walnut Creek-natives open the 7-inch with “Clairvoyant,” an introspective acoustic ballad that was first made public several weeks ago with the split’s announcement. Throughout the track, vocalist Parker Cannon dazzles listeners with a beautiful singing voice, that until now had remained hidden to even the most devoted of fans. Additionally, these airtight vocals are supported by a refreshingly simple, yet driving acoustic melody, resulting in a hauntingly crisp pairing that is not easily forgotten. The modest construction of “Clairvoyant” also showcases Cannon’s lyrical prowess, which as usual, is heart-wrenchingly relevant. The songs hook, “Don’t paint me black when I used to be golden,” will undoubtedly send chills through war-torn hearts, and firmly cements the track as one of the best of 2013. The group’s second song “Loro,” a Pinback cover, once again finds TSSF exploring unfamiliar territory with unprecedented success, despite the tracks similarity to the indie rock veteran’s original version. Thumping basslines and marching drum beats propel the song forward, while the repetitious melody brilliantly illustrates a more deliberate, mature sound from the five-piece.

It is here where Orange County’s Stick To Your Guns takes over, opening with their previously-released track “We Still Believe,” off of 2012’s Diamond. I will admit, as a long time STYG fan who has been aching for new material, I was pretty bummed out that this was one of the two songs selected for this EP. That being said, I will admit that after several listens through, I have been reminded as to why Diamond was one of my favorite releases of last year. The drum fills and guitar work, though not particularly intricate, make for a contagious hook, which is made even more powerful through Jesse Barnett’s battle cry and heavy doses of gang vocals. Moreover, the lyrics of “We Still Believe,” as fans of the group have come to expect, are relentlessly uplifting and positive, reminding everyone that there is much more to the hardcore genre than chugging breakdowns and tough-guy struts across stage. The final track is another well-executed cover, “Burning Fight”, originally released twenty three years ago by the hardcore punk outfit, Inside Out. Though some would consider this song basic by today’s fast-paced standards, it still contains enough ferocity to punch holes through even the thickest of walls. In addition, Barnett’s face melting vocals add a pleasant new twist to this old classic, which will likely familiarize today’s fans with an entirely different generation’s hardcore.

On the whole, this album leaves little to be desired–both bands not only show off their own impeccable songwriting abilities, but also stray from the path to showcase the work of those who have inspired them along the way. Though not a sensory rush, what this split lacks in overt technicality it makes up for in lasting meaning, as it offers fans an intimate glimpse into the upbringing of both acts. And if these upbringings are a reflection of things to come, I personally am I excited to see what the future holds.

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by: Kyle Florence

Kyle Florence

Kyle Florence is a proud Wisconsinite, a dinosaur enthusiast, and a lover of all things weird and whacky.
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