Catchy, tuneful, rock.
Isn’t it funny how no-one will admit to the tags of ‘emo’/‘screamo’ or ’pop-punk’ any more, no now it’s got to be ‘alternative rock’ and with sentences like ‘anything but predictable’ and ‘deeply personal’ written on a press release you are meant to immediately take a band more seriously because of course, that makes all the difference. For me though and probably most other people who just like music because it sounds good or moves them in some way it’s all in the listening experience and Story of the Year, no matter how much they try to convince me, are not alternative rock, there is not that much that I would consider to be alternative about their music at all; “The Black Swan” is straight up rock, nothing quirky, nothing different, just 100% mainstream crowd pleasing tunes.
And come on, there is nothing wrong with this approach at all, so why try to hide under a new label. OK then if that’s the way it has to be. This alt-rock album starts off with the catchy ‘Choose Your Fate’ a heavy track with metal riffs and melodic vocals mixed with screams, the rough and raw sections cut with a more tuneful, sing along bits, not like screamo at all.
This is a very accessible record, not too jagged around the edges, never to heavy, always injecting enough tuneful moments to draw in even the most timid rock fan. Those melodic choruses are still anthemic and poppy enough to make you bounce around to them and the screams are filled with an emotional core. There are plenty of single-worthy tracks here: ‘The Black Swan’ for example, is huge in scope, full of wall of fuzz noise and great riffs from the guitars and with vocals so catchy the tune sticks with you straight away, ‘Message To The World’ has a repetitive lyrical core that’s easy to sing along to and is hook heavy with pounding drums in the heavier sections, nicely done.
Lyrically this is a much more focused and personal record than their previous output, drawing on wider social and philosophical issues they try to give something that is more interesting. this results in a record that will probably have a more lasting message, carrying them beyond that insatiable teen market.