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The Story So Far have solidified their repute as pop punk leaders on 'Proper Dose'

The California band are back in a big way.

It’s a curious crossroads in which many have found themselves: Venture down familiar paths and be accused of unoriginality; venture down new ones and be accused of abandoning your roots and selling out.

What’s a band to do – least of all a beloved pop-punk band that have become among the most acclaimed purveyors of the genre? If you’re The Story So Far, you lean into it. It’s not a stagedive, it’s two steps forward – Proper Dose, their fourth LP, is a compromise of more textured and nuanced balladry with their well-established yet still sharp take on modern pop-punk. The latter certainly provides highlights – try getting rid of ‘Out of It’’s chorus earworm, for instance. However, it can’t be stressed enough how much their efforts in the former stand out.

Keyboard-driven single ‘Upside Down’ can easily lay claim to their best singular moment – all bright melody and lush instrumentation – while ‘Take Me As You Please’ and ‘Growing on You’ are warm, poppy and instantly accessible. With any luck, album number five will see the band take the plunge in earnest. For now, Proper Dose is more than enough to tide you over. The story just got interesting.

8/10