CD Review: Four Year Strong / Enemy Of The World
It must really suck to be Four Year Strong right now.
At least that’s what one music reviewer wrote at the end of his review for the band Set Your Goals’ latest album, implying, possibly, that Set Your Goals was providing some real competition, and maybe Four Year Strong wasn’t the powerhouse they were a few years back. Both bands have similar styles, blending pop punk, power punk and hardcore for a sound that’s distinguishable from many bands today. However, putting Set Your Goals aside, Four Year Strong has had a storied career thus far. Comprised of Dan O’Connor (vocals/ guitar), Alan Day (vocals/guitar), Joe Weiss (bass), Jack Massucco (drums) and Josh Lyford (synth/vocals), Four Year Strong have been taking the pop-punk world by storm, selling out shows since before the release 2007’s Rise or Die Trying.
April 1, 2009, they announced that their next album would be an album of 90’s cover songs. Naturally, many though this was an April Fools joke, as we were all anticipating a new release of original music. However, it was not a joke, and Explains It All was released in late 2009 as something to satiate fans until the new album could be released.
And finally, it is here. Enemy of the World drops on March 9, 2010. And after listening to Enemy of the World, 11 tracks and approximately 40 minutes of high octane, firing on all cylinders, holding nothing back, melodic hardcore, it is clear that it really does not suck to be Four Year Strong right now..
Perhaps attesting to their sense of humor, the album opens with the aptly named “It Must Really Suck to be Four Year Strong Right Now,” A slicing guitar riff starts the song off and brings the band in, a crushing double bass drum supporting the melody. Sings O’Connor, ““I’m a mess such a wreck don’t forget about it/I drag myself through the dirt just to feel a little closer to the ground/Because I’ve always had my head up in the clouds” The chorus advises us, “Don’t fix it if it hasn’t broken yet/Don’t regret it if it hasn’t happened yet.”
The second single of the album is “Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)”. A static guitar riff starts thing off, soon joined by the drums and bass pounding out the rhythm as O’Connor sings “Wasting Time, all along you’ve just been wasting mine.” The band drops out as O’Connor sings “Well I can see you’re waiting, but I don’t care!” The band joins back in with a chorus that has a more pop punk feel, slowing to half time, as the band sings, “To fill this whole place up with gasoline and blow the top off this whole damn thing.” After the second chorus, all instruments except for drums drop out and the band as a whole sings the first verse, cueing what could make for a crowd sing-along when performed live.
“One Step at a Time” is about dealing with a loss and lyrics seem especially poignant in this song. The drums pound on the intro, a quick barrage of snare drum hits, and then the rest of the band come in with a galloping melody. O’Connor sings, “Sometimes it’s hard to say the right thing, the right way on the hardest day of your life….every year November gets closer, and every year it gets a little bit colder.” The chorus music is a heavy riff, played with the drums at half time, as the band sings, “I’m gonna get through this one way or another/Cause I know it’s warmer where you are.” This song proves to be an emotionally charged, yet energetic, fast paced high point of the album.
Other highlights on the album include “Nineteen with Neck Tatz,” “What the Hell is a Gigawatt,” and “Flannel is the Color of My Energy”. From start to finish, from “It Must Really Suck to be Four Year Strong Right Now” to the closing title track, Enemy of the World is high energy, melodic, heavy, and fun; a roll down the windows and blast at full volume kind of album.