Published Sep 21, 2018It's been three years since California-based pop punks the Story So Far have released a new album, and Proper Dose assures us that the brief hiatus was necessary.
The title track alludes to front-man Parker Cannon's alleged issues with drug abuse, as he confesses, "I defy the proper dose 'cause I'm alone and I don't care." The song still maintains the band's pop punk, high-energy roots, yet offers a more vulnerable stance. "Proper Dose" concludes with Cannon realizing that he doesn't want to miss out on aspects of life he has yet to live; he wants to watch his younger cousin grow. From the first track, Cannon is more humanized than ever before.
The first few tracks of Proper Dose remain regretfully predictable in terms of composition. They abide by the pop punk formula, and this isn't disrupted until "Take Me As You Please," a song that offers the same level of vulnerability we heard on "Clairvoyant," an adorable little ballad that appeared on an EP in 2013.
As you dive further into Proper Dose, it's clear that this isn't the typical offering of most young, all-male punk bands; Proper Dose isn't just about getting drunk and banging chicks — it's honest and defenseless. On "Upside Down," Cannon sings about letting go of grudges and remaining friendly with a past lover, while "If I Fall" explores the nakedness that comes with depending on another human being.
Later in the album, "Line" offers the most capricious disruption of the narrative yet, as Cannon takes a step back, offering minimal vocals and letting his band mates carry this almost entirely instrumental track.
A "proper dose" assumes balance and trust in a doctor's orders. This album does just that. It's a healthy mix of comfortable pop punk and more complex composition — yet, woven through that is self-reflection, confession and maturity. (Pure Noise)