Album review: Story Of The Year – Tear Me To Pieces

St Louis post-hardcore heavyweights Story Of The Year surge back to their best urgent sixth album on Tear Me To Pieces…

Album review: Story Of The Year – Tear Me To Pieces
Sam Law

It feels like the stars have realigned for Story Of The Year. Not only have the Missouri collective found themselves swept up in the 2000s emo resurgence that’s seen My Chemical Romance and Paramore return straight into arenas and When We Were Young become the hottest festival ticket on the planet, they’ve also been spurred into making the most vital record since 2003 debut Page Avenue. Twenty years after that landmark became one of the first of its ilk to shift a million copies, and 10 since they ended their mid-career hiatus, sixth offering Tear Me To Pieces is the reminder of the beating heart and heaviness, gripping muscle and melody that fans have been holding on for.

Proceedings starts at a whip, with the strummed intro of the title-track opening into a surging vocal – ‘Tear me to pieces and swallow me, cause I can’t kill all the anxiety / Tear me to pieces, I’m suffocating and I can’t break free…’ – before the first of a cache of crunching riffs crash through. It’s formulaic, sure, but it’s so damn effective you’ll find yourself involuntarily shoving your fringe to one side and digging out the eyeliner. Real Life is a textbook adolescent anthem full of bubbling-up teenage romance and the bittersweetness of looming adulthood, with little of the cynicism you’d expect from players who’ve long since arrived there. Glow keeps building the angsty angularity and breathless wonder with remarkably measured punch and lightness of touch.

And so it goes. Only four of these 11 tracks pass the three-minute mark. None stray over three-and-a-half. When electronic beats and gleaming synths leak through on Dead And Gone and WAR, they’re in service of the song rather than any desperately-deployed gimmick. The longing nostalgia of emotional highlight 2005 is almost cloying, but stops short to ring true with the kids they used to be. By the time the almost operatic Knives out – all gang vocals and banshee six-strings – subsides into the easy warmth of acoustic closer Use Me, it feels like stepping out from a half-hour alongside old friends with whom you’ll never really lose touch.

This story is far from over.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Funeral For A Friend, A Day To Remember, The Used

Tear Me To Pieces is out on March 10 via SharpTone

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