VINYL REVIEW: The Story So Far – ‘Songs Of’

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Artist: The Story So Far
Album: Songs Of
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Label: Pure Noise Records

After much delay, the 10-inch vinyl release of The Story So Far’s five-track acoustic EP, Songs Of, has finally arrived.

Following the success of the band’s lovely “Clairvoyant,” an acoustic cut that was released on an excellent 7″ split with Stick To Your Guns, the California-based pop-punk front runners decided to release an all-acoustic EP featuring new, stripped down versions of tracks from their highly popular 2013 release What You Don’t See, along with a new song and a cover of Bob Marley’s classic “Waiting In Vain.”

Was the end product worth the wait, though?


Pressing Info

This is the first pressing of Songs Of on 10-inch vinyl which was available through MerchNow for $12 plus shipping. This particular variant was limited to 500 copies and pressed on a Rastafari-themed, translucent red / yellow / green smash.

This variant has since sold out as it was the most limited of the four current colorway options. That includes Hot Topic’s exclusive variant: ultra clear with green, yellow and red splatter. Hot Topic sure does love those splatters on clear.


Packaging & Presentation

The packaging for this is simple and standard: normal card stock jacket with white protective inner sleeve and a digital download card included. There’s no lyric insert but there’s a reason for that…

While I’ve seen silk screened images printed on records before, this is the first time I’ve actually seen the lyrics printed directly onto an album. On one hand it’s pretty cool to see, but on the other, it kind of looks tacky depending on your taste. I’m all for creativity and experimenting, though, so I don’t hate it — it just isn’t necessarily the choice I’d make for a b-side. However, if you’re the type that enjoys reading the lyrics while listening to the songs, good luck. Warning to the unwise: do not attempt to play this record’s b-side, dummy.

The disc itself looks awesome, though, as the three colors of the smash blend nicely and look really good in the light. It’s got a very Jolly Rancher look to it, but I’d advise against taste testing. The only downside is that my personal copy has very little green in it which was slightly disappointing as I’ve seen other pictures of the same variant with far more pronounced colors.


Sound Quality

I’m pretty confused and disappointed by the choices made by the band on these recordings. I don’t know if the sound on Songs Of was fully intended or if it had something to do with a change in studios from their usual home of The Panda Studios to Nu-Tone Studios in Pittsburg, California, but for the most part, the vocals sound like they were recorded from a bathroom and they don’t seem to mesh all that well with the instrumentation. The guitars are also overly buzzy and the fact that “All Wrong” was used as a lazy, 37-second intro to “Bad Luck” was a disservice to a killer cut from What You Don’t See. I will say, though, that their Bob Marley cover is really good and does the song justice. I also personally enjoy “Navy Blue” but it still comes in second to “Clairvoyant.”

All that said, though, the vinyl sounds about as good as it can given the circumstances.


Wrap-Up

Overall, this release has a lot of ups and downs, most of which will depend on preference. The choice to print the lyrics on the b-side was an odd one and I would have preferred even a screen printed dog on it, but I’ll give them an A for effort, I guess. Furthermore, the sound quality of the record itself is fine; it’s the production choices that were made that sound a little off for the most part — mainly with the vocals.

From reading through various forums, it seems that the general consensus from fans is slightly more on the negative side, but all in all, this is a unique release to own and the variants at least look really great.

You can stream ‘Songs Of’ in full here.

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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