Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Story Changes - The Way of the Dinosaur CD Review

There was a time, not that long ago, where emo and hard rock bands didn’t need to scream on their albums. Really, there was such a time, as hard as it is to believe. Today, just about every band signed to any decent sized indie label that plays within the realm of “emo” has to toss in some screams every now and again so that they can show how “emotional” they are about something. Come on, you don’t need to scream to show strong emotion. When did that become a rule? Don’t people remember the early Tooth and Nail days when Further Seems Forever and The Juliana Theory were starting out? Or how about the early Jade Tree years? Heck, remember that band called Jimmy Eat World? It seems like hardly any emo or “emo-core” bands remember any of that nowadays. Instead they try to ape Senses Fail and the flavor of the week screaming emo style that’s recently caught on.

Thank goodness there is occasionally a band that isn’t afraid to break away from the trends and just plays good music. It’s true that you’ll hear a lot of Clarity era Jimmy Eat World throughout The Way of the Dinosaur, but it could be worse. Think about it, what does the music scene need more of right now -- more copycat bands that either whine way too much (The Spill Canvas, My American Heart, etc.) and lamely toss screams around while they're whining (Emery, Taking Back Sunday, and the like) or more bands that remember when Saves the Day and The Get Up Kids were trend setters? If you didn’t say the former, stop reading and go listen to your Fall Out Boy mp3s for the bazillionth time.

Honestly, as nice as it is to hear some throwback styled songwriting, after listening to “Needle”, “You Run Away”, and a few of the other great songs on this album, a sense of sad nostalgia passes through the air reminding us all that bands such as The Juliana Theory and Further Seems Forever are no longer making music. Even though they aren’t, and even though that style of music is no longer popular with the scene kids, bands such as The Story Changes are keeping the sound alive.

While they are keeping the blood pumping in this dying genre while everyone anticipates the next Jimmy Eat World record, it would also be nice to hear them keeping some of the diversity of the sound alive. Throughout the 10 tracks on this album, all of the songs keep the same mid-tempo, established emo structure. There are a couple of small derivations, such as the moody “Caught Up in Chemicals” or the slightly up-tempo chorus of “Your Own Design”, but for the vast majority of the album, there is almost no differentiation from song to song.

The Way of the Dinosaur functions well as a reminder, nudging those of us who are old enough to remember music in the mid-90’s to early 00’s to go pull out some of our old favorites and give them a couple of spins. It’s also an album that is great for a few listens, but lacks staying power. Still, we need more albums like this that break slightly outside of the mold of what is currently popular in the scene, simply to provide some diversity for those people who actually do want something different.

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