Ska punk was once a greatly popular genre of music for bands to be producing. In the early 2000s there were many bands in the genre, many of which weren't very good at all and most have now split up. [spunge] is one of the few remaining UK bands in the genre, are they any good though? The answer to that question would have to be 'not really'. Whilst the music is okay, it's by no means great and [spunge] is certainly no classic band of the genre. The fact of the matter however is that this band has stuck to its guns and continued to produce ska punk music even though the genre is no longer at all popular.
Although definitely a ska punk band, [spunge] is one of the few bands in this genre not to make use of a brass instrument. For that reason the music has always been a little lacking, the band has always lacked the energy and excitement to compete with the top bands of this sort and yet to listen to the music is still a fairly interesting experience. Tracks such as 'Skanking Song', 'Ego', and 'Jump On Demand' are extremely fun tracks from this release which comprise of catchy choruses and interesting verses also. The music at times plods along a little too much, this is however still a decent display of ska punk music even if the music does on occasion come across as quite tiresome.
For me 'Jump On Demand' is the highlight of this album. It was released commercially as a single in 2002, and although not exactly a hit (it just about scraped the Top 40 at number 39) it is I feel an energetic offering of ska punk which provides for an extremely enjoyable listening experience. It's not the most intelligent track in the world, but if you're in the mood for a good bit of jumping then what better titled track is there really to listen to? The guitar riffs are quite generic, the vocals aren't hugely impressive, somehow however it works and 'Jump On Demand' stands strong as the best track that 'The Story So Far' album has to offer.
'Ego' was actually re-recorded for inclusion on this album, it originally featured on the bands 'Room For Abuse' album which was released in 2000. In my opinion it's the best track on the 'Room For Abuse' album but was most certainly best left unchanged. Although it was interesting to hear an updated version of the track it wasn't at all necessary and in comparison to the original is in fact a bit of a let down.
The album winds down nicely with 'Too Little Too Late', an interesting track which brings things to a moderately paced close. It's not the best track that this band has ever written, it is however an interesting one and does work well I feel in it's place at the albums end. Interestingly it feels a little like a 'goodbye', as though the band was here intending to call it all a day. Given that this album is now more than five years old and [spunge] are still producing music as a band it would seem that this was no farewell at all, it definitely feels like one though.
If you're a fan of the ska punk genre then perhaps you'd appreciate this 'The Story So Far' album, if not then it's probably best not to listen to this. There are far better albums out there in the genre than this one from [spunge], it contains some decent tracks but ultimately many on this album are disappointing. 'The Story So Far' lacks the consistency to ever be considered as a classic, it provides for an interesting but not particularly inspiring 37 minutes of music. As much as I admire [spunge] for the bands reluctance to call it a day, I must say that they've seemingly got progressively worse with every release and to bring it all to an end would probably be in the best interest of everyone. 'The Story So Far' was not at all a commercially successful album, it was released on the record label B-Unique (home of Kaiser Chiefs, Babyshambles etc.) but when the album failed to take off the band was understandably dropped. Listen to this album if you feel so inclined, understand however that this will not be the greatest ska punk album you'll ever hear.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Jump on demand
4 Too little too late
5 Change of scene
6 Skanking song
7 Story so far
8 Friend called Fred
9 It's over
10 Give it a try
11 Dotted line