Four Year Strong
Four Year Strong


3.9
excellent

Review

by DaveyBoy STAFF
May 29th, 2015 | 121 replies


Release Date: 06/02/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: No pain, no gain.

“Brace for the hate, to be the subject of debate,
Wait for the perfect time for them to watch you wipe the dirt from your face
As you constantly save us from ourselves.
I beg you stop before you destroy something else”.

(Taken from track 8 ‘Here’s to Swimming with Bow-Legged Women’)

Four Year Strong definitely weren’t the first band to take a diversion toward the mainstream… and they certainly won’t be the last. Nor should they be either, with (theoretically) far more to be gained from such an excursion, than lost. Delusions of grandeur resulting from a sonic shift in accessibility would obviously be unwise, but viewing 2011’s much-maligned ‘In Some Way, Shape or Form’ as a failure is short-sighted. It’s not as if the bearded Massachusetts quartet were the most original or diverse act going around in the first place, so what harm could switching from their aggressive form of pop-punk to playing a tighter brand of mainstream rock do" Sure, some momentum may have been halted and fans left disappointed, but as the well-worn motto suggests; No pain, no gain. And on the band’s self-titled sixth LP, the gain is there for all to hear.

Consolidating on the excellent ‘Go Down in History’ EP, Four Year Strong now veer closer towards a sound that balances their various strengths, without stretching them to borderline nonsensical lengths. It may have taken a while for the now quartet to iron out the kinks associated with the departure of synth maestro Josh Lyford, but that’s where the lessons learned from their so-called mainstream transgression come into play. Rather rawly produced by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, the tighter, more muscular sound on display gives this self-titled release both a nostalgic and progressive feel. Breakdowns, for example, are much rarer here, with assertive and (relatively speaking) more intricate guitar lines and riffs in their place. Furthermore, Jake Massucco’s thumping drums are complex, without ever crossing the line into lairy territory.

Not only have Four Year Strong lost none of their swaggering intensity, but their hyperactive energy also remains intact, meaning that these subtle adjustments can take place without sacrificing their all-important fun and catchy nature. And my, oh my, when ‘Four Year Strong’ gets fun and catchy, it really does result in one almighty sing/shout-along. The dual and duelling vocals of Alan Day and Dan O’Connor are ubiquitous, while the band are unafraid to take it up a notch to gang chant level on tracks such as single ‘We All Float Down Here’, the supremely hooky ‘I’m a Big, Bright, Shining Star’ and EP holdover ‘Go Down in History’. Adding to the massive nature of these anthems is the fact that quotable refrains seem to effortlessly roll off these guys’ tongues, even if they’re not quite as consistently clever as they want them to be.

There are still moments on ‘Four Year Strong’ where the quartet fall into cruise-control mode, with the more standard song structures of the still catchy ‘Eating My Words’ and ‘Gravity’ fading a little into the background. If anything, this continues to prove that the band lack variety, since there’s definitely no ballads to be found here, and the main point of difference will be the divisive, but extremely fun, ‘Who Cares"’; a sub two minute tune that sounds like the heaviest song that Sum 41 never recorded. The main other nit-pick concerning the album is if last year’s EP never existed, then a few of its strong tracks could have been used here to replace the tunes which approach being classified as filler. Otherwise, this rather back-loaded LP - which has fittingly been released in time for the Northern hemisphere summer - will not only go down a treat live, but also rates as Four Year Strong’s best record to date. The pain was worth it!

Recommended Tracks: I’m a Big Bright Shining Star, Go Down in History, Here’s to Swimming with Bow-Legged Women & Stolen Credit Card!




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user ratings (221)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
iChuckles (4.5)
Four Years Stronger indeed....

cocopunk1486 (4)
Energetic, catchy, Four Year Strong are definitely strong...



Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2015


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Yes, I made it through the entire review without mentioning that made-up word that begins with “easy” and ends with “core”.



June-3 edit: For some reason, they took down 'I'm a Big, Bright, Shining Star' on SoundCloud... So I've had to attach 'We All Float Down Here' instead.

Spec
May 28th 2015


35506 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just in time for summer yayaaaaa.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2015


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Of course, it's currently bloody cold where the reviewer happens to reside... But this album still warmed me up.

Spec
May 28th 2015


35506 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Its gloomy and shitty here right now too but theoretically it should be nice out.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2015


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Jump in a car, open the windows & blast this album loud. It's the way it's meant to be heard.

Spec
May 28th 2015


35506 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

But but what about the midday, beer friendly campfire?

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2015


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

If that is indeed a thing, I have missed out on such a life experience.

Mutantsnowstorm
May 28th 2015


504 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I love this record, FYS really came through and impressed me. Great review too!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2015


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

No fti, it's a 3.9. It's a distinction that helps come year-end list time.





Thanks Mutant. Excluding the recent EP, I haven't rated any of their prior releases above a 3.5. So yeah, FYS impressed me here.

BigPleb
May 28th 2015


55001 Comments


They sorted their shit out?! :D

Also, great rev Davey.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2015


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

To a large extent, they have Pleb. There's still room for improvement though.

Lefondre
May 29th 2015


164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Enjoying this, I don't think it quite tops Enemy of the World but it easily surpasses their previous LP.



Great review Davey!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2015


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

That will probably be the majority opinion Lefondre. Thanks.

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 29th 2015


28088 Comments


Great review as always, seems a little too punkish for me though.

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

iChuckles
May 29th 2015


271 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

For me this is probably their greatest work yet. It's much more raw and punk-ish in a way than anything they've ever put out, yet still has the exact same fun factor as Rise or Die Trying and Enemy of The World. The riffs are also consistently awesome. A definite summer banger.



Edit:

The review was also great, my only gripe is that you misquoted the song in the beginning -- it's "I beg you stop before you destroy something else".

Digging: The Story So Far - Proper Dose

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2015


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Grow some balls Sowing. Then again, I guess you're just getting used to having them handed to you. ;-)

Well said iChuckles. That's what I was trying to get at with regards to the balance they achieve here. I guess that's just a sign of a band learning from experience.

I've gone back & listened to 'Swimming' and I think the 1st chorus is "bet" and the next two are "beg". I'm fairly certain of it actually. Thankfully, they both work in the context of the review intro, although "beg" actually works a little better... So I will change it. Thanks for the pick-up.

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
May 29th 2015


14049 Comments


Great review davey



Digging: Kero Kero Bonito - Time 'n' Place

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2015


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Thank you Sir Mort. Give this a listen and shout along real loudly.

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
May 29th 2015


14049 Comments


Probably wont because you saying you stayed away from calling this easycore just makes me think it is easycore



DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2015


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Well, it's not as much as their previous releases, that's for sure.



Plus, I more stayed away from it because I hate the term.



Whenever you can, give the SoundClouded song a listen and make up your own mind.



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