Under the guise of Same Side, The Story So Far and Elder Brother’s Kevin Geyer opens his personal musical journal to the world. With his penchant for uncovering buried feelings of melancholy and yearning, often weaving and conjuring in isolation in a stream of consciousness style flow, Geyer’s Same Side alter-ego is the perfect repository for unflinchingly intimate minimalism with depth, vibrancy, and earnestness.
While poetic themes of loss and reflection will no doubt resonate with anyone going through a bad breakup, the five songs that comprise the self-titled debut EP from Same Side soar with a dreamy melodic optimism. It’s a hat trick similarly employed by slowcore standard bearers like Red House Painters and Low, acknowledging its debt to the late Elliott Smith and American Football, but forging a unique identity.
“These songs came together a few years ago as I was going through some changes in my personal situation,” Kevin explains. “I’d have an instrumental idea that I’d sit on for a while until melodies sort of just bubbled up on their own. There were some feelings I had been holding onto subconsciously.”
That sense of an organic and therapeutic letting go permeates the EP. Guitars ebb and flow with gentle focus; the drums are sparse, tasteful, and controlled. Same Side sounds like waking up from a dream.
The Story So Far are at the forefront of a strikingly engaging renaissance of modern pop-punk, with a stunning turn, equally worthy of respect, that sees them folding Britpop and classic rock into their mix. Ambitious in its emotional bravery, Elder Brother saw The Story So Far’s guitarist mining sadcore territory with his friend Dan Rose, best known as vocalist of the band Daybreaker. Same Side, by contrast, belongs wholly to Geyer, offering a low-pressure opportunity to house compositions that don’t fit the other bands.
The Same Side EP was recorded at The Panda Studios in Fremont, California, with longtime The Story So Far and Elder Brother producer Sam Pura, whose resumé also includes State Champs and Hundredth.
Like the best of shoegaze leaning head-in-the-clouds alt-rock, Same Side is lush, meditative, and serene, even when contemplating the fallout from bad choices. “Fall into old ways / made the same mistakes…” Geyer sings on “Stuck in a Hole,” a revealing well of empathy for anyone struggling with addiction. “I can see myself in some of my friends struggles.”
“The Way it Seems,” “Fall Back in Again,” and “Same Side” (a song title Geyer realized lent itself well to the overall project) share some spiritual continuity. While far from any sort of “conceptual” trilogy, each of them approaches a disintegrating relationship, a once on again/off again romance that is officially over.
“I’ve always gravitated toward the mellower stuff,” Kevin says of his songwriting. “As I’ve gotten a little bit older and my musical tastes have expanded, this is what comes out naturally for me. I love what we do in The Story So Far and how it’s evolved. This is another outlet, a chance to explore a different side of me.”