Four Year Strong

Go Down In History EP

Written by: TL on 25/08/2014 19:26:28

In the spring of 2010, Four Year Strong's "Enemy Of The World" was not only the hottest record in pop-punk, it was the well from which the easycore current in the genre would spring and flow. With it as a launch point, the Massachussetts quartet sought to break through their niche ceiling and claim wider appeal, but fell short with the largely forgetable "In Some Way, Shape Or Form" from 2012. This brings us to the new EP "Go Down In History", with which the band is rallying after splitting from major label Universal/Motown and having taken time off to spend on family life and side-projects.

For fans that have missed the group, it will likely be a relief that "Go Down In History" remains quite faithful to a sound somewhere between "Enemy Of The World" and "In Some Way, Shape Or Form". We're in the more hard-hitting end of pop-punk, where focus is on thick, bouncy rhythms and scratched vocals that often sound like melodic yelling. The dual vocals from Alan Day and Dan O'Connor are still a prime characteristic in all its Set Your Goals-ness, while the broad-shouldered, yet bright riff barrages support comparisons to a group like the much revered A Day To Remember.

While the lyrics are not surprisingly themed with "staying on your feet and hitting back" type rhetorics, the good news is that Four Year Strong have rediscovered some of the contagious, chest-beating anthems of their breakthrough album. "It's never too late to keep your head straight. Move your hands back and forth and prove it's symmetry. So you can live like a time bomb that doesn't have long. Go down in history". Such goes the catchy refrain in the title track, which aligns with "Living Proof Of A Stubborn Youth" to serve as the EP's best numbers, with the latter getting good and staying good from around the halfway mark, crossing the bridge and through to the end of the song.

It's a weird feeling though, listening to a record that takes half a step backwards, even if it is towards a more effective strategy, because the guys have naturally gotten older, and while relatively enjoyable, the sound of Four Year Strong feels like a gust of wind from the past more than a fresh breath in 2014, especially when the band gets extra self-righteous with lyrics like "I never told you how much it means to me, to see you crawling on your hands and knees, and I don't like to use the word "pathetic" but I call it like I see - And worst of all, when all is said and done, you'll be crawling back to me" from "So You're Saying There's A Chance...". The song's schadenfreude comes off somewhat unsympathetic, and sort of counteracts its catchy qualities. So overall, you have to admit that the boys have done some pretty good song construction here in their effort to come back, but at the same time, it's hard not to wonder if time has run away from Four Year Strong. Diehard fans of theirs or of the genre will likely not mind, and they should be checking it out for sure, but at the same time it's more a hint of sunlight rather than the milestone that puts the band squarely back on the map.

7

Download: Living Proof Of A Stubborn Youth, Go Down In History
For The Fans Of: Set Your Goals, A Day To Remember, Me Vs Hero,
Listen: facebook.com/fouryearstrong

Release date 22.07.2014
Pure Noise Records

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