Four Year Strong

Explains It All

Written by: PP on 28/07/2009 06:09:50

Lets get the obvious out of the way first. Why are Four Year Strong releasing a covers album called "Explains It All" instead of putting out their third studio album hopefully consisting of more of the pop hardcore awesomeness of "Rise Or Die Trying"? "We've recorded some of our favorite songs from the 90s and this is our opportunity to show you guys some of the influences that helped make Four Year Strong what it is," says the band themselves. I guess that's fair enough, especially because many of the Four Year Strongized 90s pop songs sound pretty awesome in the pop hardcore format. Think of the first "From The Screen To Your Stereo" covers EP by New Found Glory and you're 100% done explaining it all (heh heh), because in many cases you'll find the new versions just that much better than the originals.

Job well done then? Not entirely. Throughout the course of the album, Four Year Strong engage in a series of hit or miss reworkings of songs (did someone catch that? hehe) that anyone approaching their mid 20s should be at least vaguely familiar with. The selection of songs is much better than on the second New Found Glory covers album "From the screen... II", with highlights like "Absolutely (Story Of A Girl)" (Nine Days), "Ironic" (Alanis Morrissette) benefiting greatly from a punked up sound. These were good songs to start out with, but just like New Found Glory's version of "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing", the frantic pace and raw, edgy guitars make them even better in my ears. As for some of the misses, "Semi-Charmed Life" (Third Eye Blind) doesn't differ much from the original because the speed hasn't been upped enough to make a noticeable difference, and "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" (Smashing Pumpkins) honestly doesn't sound too good as a pop punk song, even if Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die contributes some cool guest vocals on the track.

Similarly, there's some but not enough guitar improvisation on Nirvana's "In Bloom", but at the same time, a religious note-by-note version of "Spiderwebs" (No Doubt) is absolutely brilliant with heavier guitars and a relentless pace during the chorus. What do you know. One of the biggest misses though is Sugar Ray's "Fly", which damn near made me vomit inside my mouth thanks to the god awful rapping by Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes fame (goddamn I hate that band). It really just sounds like a Whole Wheat Bread track, and frankly, they do that type of sound much better.

Luckily the album finishes on a high note with Tal Bachman's "She's So High" (I'm hilarious aren't I?), which sums up the whole album nicely: this is a bunch of guys having a criminal amount of fun together during an upsurge moment of their career, playing some of their favorite cheesy (granted, some more than others) pop songs of the 90s the way they could've been played if pop punk/pop hardcore had been around back then. Jealous thumbs up from me.

Download: Spiderwebs, Absolutely (Story Of A Girl), Ironic
For the fans of: Four Year Strong, New Found Glory, Punk Goes Pop compilations
Listen: Myspace

Release date 21.07.2009
I Surrender / Decaydance Records

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