Four Year Strong

Four Year Strong

Written by: PP on 27/07/2015 23:23:04

Well. It's been a while since easycore warriors Four Year Strong last made a memorable impact on the music scene. We'll have to go all the way back to 2010's "Enemy Of The World" since they last released something worth writing home about, and many were ready to dismiss the band as an irrelevant relic from the easycore explosion of late 2000s going forward. So imagine the surprise of yours truly among spinning their fifth album "Four Year Strong" for the first time and finding the same irrefutable energy as their sophomore breakthrough "Rise Or Die Trying" had in 2007. After booting their keyboardist from the band for the generic "In Some Way, Shape, Or Form", they sounded lost in their newfound shift to college rock, trying to imitate Sum 41 of all bands for some god forsaken reason. It appears they just needed time to adjust to the removal of such a key part of their past sound before they re-invented themselves proper. "Four Year Strong" is an exemplary story of how to revitalize a band.

Let's start with the similarities to older stuff first. Sure, a couple of songs still look towards Sum 41, such as the ridiculously catchy "Who Cares?", but it's about five times as fast and twice as bouncy, leaning fully on classic easycore dynamics that make songs fun and ideal for summer weather. And boy, if there's something to note about this release, it's that these are pure summer tunes designed for the festival pits in perfect weather. "We All Float Down Here", for instance, is pop punk / easycore at its finest with heavy breakdowns setting up the pit for a full-on bounce session when the circle pit section is done.

Speaking of which, here's a key difference to past material: with Kurt Ballou (Converge) behind the knobs, "Four Year Strong" is easily the heaviest Four Year Strong album to date. The guitars crunch and churn the riffs out, the vocals are almost screamed out, and the drums blast out the stereo like a metal band in places. And here's the best part: it doesn't come at the expense of catchy songs. While the first half of the record follows standard easycore formula, the second half of the record starting from "Gravity" showcases one summer hit after another, perfectly designed for going crazy during the verses and singing along during the anthemic choruses. The vocal delivery is emotionally-charged and convincing throughout--which wasn't always the case on "In Some Way, Shape, Or Form"--resulting in one infectiously catchy line after another. Let's just put it this way: the record feels like it is fueling an awesome pool party where a trampoline is helping vaulting people into the water while people are doing kegstands right next to it. Basically, there's just no way you won't be having a good time to a ridiculously catchy tune like "I'm A Big, Bright, Shining Star".

In summary, "Four Year Strong" is their return to form album. It's a reminder that easycore isn't dead or irrelevant in 2015, you just need to add the right type of crunch to your guitars, write some killer hooks, and deliver instantly memorable vocal melodies on top. I can't remember the last time I was listening to an album this fun.

8

Download: Who Cares?, Gravity, I'm A Big Bright Shining Star, Go Down In History, We All Float Down Here
For the fans of: Sum 41, Set Your Goals, A Loss For Words, Veara
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.06.2015
Pure Noise Records

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