Album Review: Four Year Strong – Four Year Strong

Flashback to 2011 and Four Year Strong were a very different band. Renouncing their hard-hitting easycore sound for a smoother, more adult, sheened attempt at the big time on last full length ‘In Some Way Shape Or Form’ backfired and left them losing fans and scene credibility left right and centre. Fast forward to present day, though, and the story is very different. Last year’s ‘Go Down In History’ heralded the return of the glorious breakdown and the band having actual fun again with their music. With that in mind, a new full length is being received with both baited breath and unrivalled excitement throughout both the pop punk and EZ scenes and beyond. Luckily, it’s fucking brilliant.

Intentions are placed on the table the moment that the meaty riff and classically infectious chorus of ‘I Hold Myself In Contempt’ hit like a freight train. After the reaction to ‘In Some Way Shape Or Form’, if anything, this is Four Year Strong stepping back into their biggest strengths rather than moving forward. The fast-paced drums and rampant hits of ‘We All Floats Down Here’ could have been pulled straight off 10’s ‘Enemy Of the World’, while the booming breakdown smack bang in the middle of ‘Wipe Yourself Off, Man. You Dead’ harks back even further to the ‘Rise Or Die Trying’ days. The only real difference is lack of synths after the departure of keyboardist Josh Lyford back in 2011, though that has been made up for in the form of harder riffs, headier choruses and enough spiky punch to sooth your keyboard withdrawal wounds.

Though it’s not all spin kicks and circle pits. ‘Eating My Words’ is a wonderfully poppy break, while ‘Stolen Credit Card!’ boasts one of the deepest “woah-ohs” of the year so far and plenty of pent-up angst being released. Things don’t stay like that for long, with ‘Who Cares?’ being a rampant snotty 2 minute banger while ‘I’m A Big Bright Shining Star’ oomphs with fiddly riffs and impassioned war cries. As the rousing chants fade out on the brilliantly anthemic ‘Go Down In History’, it’s clear to see what the band have created here is more than just a return to form. It is a message of intent to those who doubted them, and a big old middle finger to anyone who thought they were past their better days. As joyously harsh as it is kookily miscellaneous and everything in between.

‘Four Year Strong’ is the sound of a band rediscovering their perfect sound with pride, vigour and intent. Taking everything they have picked up, achieved and learnt over their career, strapping several sticks of dynamite to it, soaking it in petrol and then seeing what happens, Four Year Strong have surpassed all of the imitators and reclaimed their throne at the height of easycore without even really batting an eyelid.

4.5/5

Four Year Strong by Four Year Strong is out now on Pure Noise Records.

Four Year Strong links: Facebook|Twitter

Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)

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