Four Year Strong

Enemy Of The World

Written by: TL on 06/04/2010 17:12:59

Being the sucker for controversy that I am, I like to say in jest, that being a reviewer is a long, slow and steady journey from absolutely loving music, towards becoming absolutely sick of it, one genre at a time. And if there's one genre that I've gotten sick of quicker than any other, hardcore would be it. Now you might be wondering why I'm speaking of this in the intro to a review of Four Year Strong, given that the band's previous records are likely to have located the band closer to New Found Glory and pop punk on your mind-map, but suffice to say, on "Enemy Of The World", things have changed somewhat.

Ignoring the irrelevant (in my opinion) covers album "Explains It All" from last year, FYS's past representation of themselves, "Rise Or Die Trying", was pop-punk full of Motion City Soundtrack-esque keyboards and only the mildest elements of hardcore of any kind. In honesty, it was an album that I really wanted to get into because of its appealing wordplay and imagery, however, I never managed to - Maybe because of the average-at-best vocals or the somewhat unimpressive production values? Whatever is the case, let me repeat: Things have changed somewhat!

You see on the new opus "Enemy Of The World", FYS come crashing out the gates right away, in a manner that is unmistakably hardcore, yet plagued by none of the genre's common shortcomings, instead infected with all-conquering melodies and a contagious, positive attitude. It's melodic bro-core at its very best, or, if that self-invented tag of mine doesn't appeal to you, it's the very purest meaning of happy hardcore. How come though? Have FYS changed that much? No, in essence not really, because while the keyboards have been tuned down significantly, only rarely peeking out with a melody or two, the main difference is in the sound, or more accurately, in the production, which is now meaty and full of punch and impact through and through.

As usual though, a positive change in sound is all for naught if the song-writing is not up to par, however, "Enemy Of The World" shows FYS firing true on all guns (tracks) from their new base (sound). You may already have heard the superb "Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)" (which I sing spontaneously all the time these days) or the massively anthemic punk rock anthem "It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now" ("doooon't fix it if it hasn't broken yet!" - A chorus right up your alley maybe PP?) but neither "On A Saturday", which is sandwiched in between the two in the album's beginning, nor the remaining eight songs let up on the catchyness even for a second. Further personal favourites count "Nineteen With Neck Tatz" ("We built this! We built this! We built this city on heart and soul!"), "Find My Way Back" (Oh the delicious main riff!), "What The Hell Is A Gigawatt" (holy God that chorus is catchy, and lo and behold, the keyboards reappear!) and! and! and! ....

Okay, wait a minute. It seems to me that I am simply listing the tracks as they appear on the album!? That's right sports fans, because while "Enemy Of The World" might not have enough in it by means of originality or individuality, to really deserve the grade that's coming in a few lines, it more than makes up for it by exclusively featuring songs that have something memorable to offer. What I'm saying is that this enjoyable and sunny little bundle of joy has not only penetrated my massive prejudice against anything hardcore-punk related, it's also managed to keep me interested for its entire duration. Count in that it features more of FYS's clever puns ("the perfect punch to the perfect line", "If you bring the heart then we bring the beat!") and an affinity for including breakdowns that actually contribute to the awesomeness of a song, rather than deducting from it. Do that, and you and I can probably agree that this is a winner.

Download: Wasting Time (Eternal Summer).. And then every other song!
For The Fans Of: Set Your Goals, With The Punches, A Day To Remember

Release Date 09.03.2010
Decaydance / Universal Motown

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