Album Review: The Story Of – Until The Autumn

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Haunting, romantic, and confidence are three words that come to mind after listening to Until The Autumn, the third album from the Austin based indie act, The Story Of. The well thought out lyrics and dream like musicianship of the opening track “Berkeley” tell the listener right off that they are here to stay and nothing can change that. A little national attention could be a good reason for the cockiness, but so could the package of solid songs that make up the record. “We’re not afraid to show, to show who we are, to the jealous eyes” are the fist in the air lyrics on “Hawk Gospel” with a Belle and Sebastian-like inspiration to add a sense of humor to it all. The track turns a little sadistic as it describes the fantasy of a captor and his victim. All he wants is to take them somewhere where they can be together…is that so wrong? It also can be seen however as the proverbial middle finger to those that have doubted them in the past. Therein lies the album’s true theme.

Musically, the album’s playful at times, though the lyrics tell a different story. Utopian escapism finds its way into “The Flock”, sonic proof that the band is on top of its story telling game. The images are clear, vibrant and what’s more, they’re not hard to relate to. We have all felt uncomfortable in our surroundings, and daydreamed about that perfect life, free of reality’s burdens. The record continues down this path of open diary lyrics that are incredibly revealing, yet poetic enough to grab the listener.

The story gets even more interesting midway through on “Veteran’s Day”, a part political statement, part war epic told from the perspective of a philosopher soldier. The story sticks to the feelings of a young soldier about to go into battle, which is what the Americana style rock builds into for it’s explosive finish. After a moment of darkness, “How It Is” provides us with a shot of optimism with commands like, “don’t stop living”. While it may seem cheesy (and it really is), it shows us that even the lost can find themselves.

“Dodge City” is an abrasive tack that is a hodgepodge of Minus the Bear meets Built to Spill. The lyrics are lost amongst the music, but the mood is still set as a fight anthem. This rock style continues into the closer “Centralia” that could very well be one of the band’s best and most ambitious songs to date, not to mention the best track on the record. The words are simple and ask, almost sarcastically, “isn’t it wonderful?”, all while a warped organ backed harmony takes the track into the finish that has us listening to the sounds of someone walking out of a house and through a screen door. All in all, it’s quite symbolic for a record filled with deep metaphors that could be easily dissected in more than just the ways I have mentioned here. Then again, isn’t that the mark of a good writer?

From the reverberated vocals to the ghostly harmonies, the deep string sections and the overall infectious indie rock, Until The Autumn is a strong start to a new year of music. It’s dreamy in the sense that it is easy to get lost in a fantasy while listening. But isn’t that what we seek with our music? A chance to get lost in our own heads for a quick moment? I say yes, and apparently so does The Story Of.

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