"I drove tens of thousands of miles, yet no one called me 'The Driver'. I repaired hundreds of roofs, yet no one called me 'The Roofer'. I donated hundreds, if not thousands to charity, yet no one called me 'The Benefactor'. I shag ONE sheep..."
Some people are just destined to be known for one act alone, no matter what else they do. For Story of the Year, that one thing happened to be their song "Until the Day I Die". It propelled their album Page Avenue to giddy heights and set them up for an illustrious career. Yet, somehow they let it slip through their fingers due to their inability to recapture the radio waves with their subsequent output.
Problem is, they just don't seem to have their own niche. At their best they're a low-rent Rise Against. At their worst, they're a low-rent Lostprophets. Not that they can't muster up a good song or two. "To the Burial" and "Time Goes On" are fine examples of rousing pop-punk/post-hardcore. Explosive choruses which follow cascading verses are a sure-fire hit. Yet as any boxer will tell you, there's only so many times you can use the same punch on a guy before even the slowest opponent will start blocking it. You need to mix it up a bit. Alas, whenever SotY try this, they swing into air, lose their balance and fall flat on their faces.
Who exactly thought that child choirs were a good idea (besides Gary Glitter and MJ)? Even back in 2003 when post-hardcore maestros Thursday were using them on War All the Time, they were the cheesiest moment on the album. Yet on some ill-advised whim, The Constant is imbued with one on the opening track. The track is also named for the fact as well ("The Children Sing"). Contrived, yes; effective, no; compelling, no; original, only if you've been dwelling in an abode beneath a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals. They always say that the first impression sets the theme, and here it does too: stealing other band's really bad ideas and passing them off as you own.
The power-ballad also gets a look in. Presumably to appeal to the kind of people who like their rock sensitive. Now a staple of seemingly every alternative rock album, it's about as surprising as finding out that Lindsay Lohan died of a drug overdose when "Holding on to you" arrives.
Somehow though, despite the lack of an original bone in their body, and a few instances of shoddy execution, Story of the Year have never managed to make a crap album. They're unlikely to be anybody's favourite, yet their constant has been laid-back, melodic post-hardcore which is likely to get the mosh pits moving for those who venture into them. If you're not looking for the extraordinary, then you may have found a reliable option.
Meet the Honda Accord of bands.