Story of the Year - The Constant (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Story of the Year

The Constant (2010)


I've heard it said that there are only two sure things in life: death and taxes. I'd cautiously like to add a third item to that equation, and that is if there is children singing on a record, it is likely going to suck. Okay, it might not be that certain (see the Jackson 5, for example), but more often than not the minute a prepubescent voice is heard coming from someone's speakers, it ends up being a horrid excuse for music. The opener on Story of The Year's fourth full-length, The Constant, is entitled "The Children Sing." I find it curious that children's voices usher in what might be the worst album by this constantly frustrating band.

After the abysmal start, the band really needs something to bring the audience back from the brink; instead, the band treads water in "The Ghost of You and I," which is a painfully standard SOTY song, ready for the radio in composition but not nearly catchy enough to make a lasting impression. Songs like "I'm Alive" and "Time Goes On" succeed, however, because they are indeed catchy and the guitar tone SOTY utilizes matches the moody atmosphere of the album perfectly. In terms of experimentation, the band tends to lean on effects and that is exactly what brings down "To the Burial" as it tries to be a strutting cock rock song but but the opening gang vocals just end up coming off half-hearted and ham-fisted.

When the band flexes its punk muscle with some shredding riffage on "Eye for an Eye," you sort of wish the band would abandon its poppier moments which just don't seem to be working for them anymore and instead try going for a more mainstream punk sound of a band like Rise Against. "Remember a Time" has intro that sounds like vintage Weezer but they ruin it with can be described as a "trippy" guitar tone for the verses that takes the steam right out of the song before the chorus hits. The chorus should be the focal point of the pop song, but instead it is the intro; something is wrong here.

Whatever Story of a Year are doing right now, they are doing it wrong because, as moments here show, the band has a heap of talent. It feels like they are a band that is lacking the right producer that can help them realize their talents and edit out the excess and overwrought moments that creep into The Constant. At four full-lengths, it seems like the band might never hit their stride. Better luck next time, I suppose.