With last year’s ‘Go Down In History’ EP driving home the essence of what made Four Year Strong so deliriously exciting in the first place, it was with a collective sigh of relief that the Massachusetts foursome abandoned the poorly received alt rock experimentation of 2011’s ‘In Some Way, Shape, Or Form’, and delivered a hearty dose of their traditional popcore stylings.
This self-titled release, the band’s fourth full-length, continues the winning formula of europhic, sing-a-along blood pumpers, yet with a welcome bag of fresh oomph tossed into the mix. Bolstered by a raw production from mixing desk maestro Kurt Ballou, there’s a muscularity to these tracks previously unheard of from Four Year Strong, and a hyperactive, bounce off the walls sense of fun which well and truly quashes any fears of the band straying back down the path of lukewarm mainstream-ity.
Lead singles ‘I’m A Big, Bright, Shining Star’ and ‘We All Float Down Here’ are riotous anthems, teeming with that signature dual vocal interchange and hooky little refrains that have long since been their bread and butter. Gritty and defiant, it doesn’t take long to realize this is pop punk’s beardiest back to their aggressive best.
Indeed, the big stomping likes of ‘Wipe Yourself Off, Man. You Dead’ and ‘Gravity’, not to mention the two minute blast of spittle flecked fury of ‘Who Cares?’ rank up there with the heaviest tracks in the FYS arsenal and, although the pop sensibilities are certainly still bubbling under the surface, this is a record which truly epitomes the band’s rediscovered fire with a rollicking summer ready exercise in sonic fun. Make no mistake, Four Year Strong can still go up against the scene’s very best.
Written by Tony Bliss (@TBliss88)