Having exploded onto the scene with Rise or Die Trying, Four Year Strong have more than made a name for themselves over the past few years. So much in fact that they’ve been up-streamed TWICE since last releasing any original material. In fact, outside of a few compilation exclusives and the quickly forgotten covers album from last summer. New music has been the one area Four Year Strong haven’t completely dominated in the recent past. Much to the excitement of their tens of thousands of fans however, the group is finally with a brand new record, Enemy of the World, on March 9th via their new home at Universal/Motown Records.
Picking up almost exactly where Rise or Die Trying left off, Enemy of The World finds Four Year Strong opting to refine the wheel rather than reinvent it through 11 chug heavy, gang vocal gushing, mosh inducing tracks. I’m not complaining though because as the lead track, “It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now” claims, “don’t fix it if it isn’t broken.”
Digging into the first truly new song on the record, “Saturday,” we quickly become aware of Four Year Strong’s evolved sound. Instead of a non-stop, almost too cohesive, breakdown abundant style [I.E. their debut record], FYS show a lot of, dare I say, mainstream potential with this release. Tracks like the near straight pop punk “Find My Way Back” come booming through the speakers with finely tuned song structures that fully submerge the listener in a flood of power chords and double bass that you’ll never want to escape from. Also, if you or anyone you know can deny the hook of “This Body Pays The Bill$,” they may not have a pulse as this song has Top 40 attention written all over it and completely justifies major labels taking note of the act.
For those uninterested in what’s changed and more concerned with what’s stayed the same, have no fears as after hearing any song on Enemy it’s clear the group keeps their core fan base in mind while constructing each and every song chunk. The record is literally bursting with gang vocals [in fact, “Nineteen with Neck Tatz” is nearly all gang vocals] and frenzied breakdowns that eventually culminate in what may be the best Four year Strong song to date; “Enemy of The World.” From the undeniably catchy drum fill the introduces the song to such future scene catch phrases as “if you bring the heart, then I’ll bring the beat,” this song simply encompasses everything great about FYS and improves upon it. This track is also the album closer and I’m sure after that description that it goes without saying you’ll be reaching for “repeat” sooner than later.
I find it hard to picture anyone pressing play on this record and not knowing what they’re about to hear if they’ve ever been exposed to Four Year Strong previously. Unfortunately, that may lead some to initially find the album a bit dull, but I promise there’s a lot to take in that may pass you by early on. Having found a comfortable place to base their sound on their debut, Four Year Strong use Enemy of The World to showcase how talented they’ve become through intricate, yet consistently heavy song structures and vastly refined song writing.
This album has “Soundtrack to Summer 2010” written all over it.
Review written by: James Shotwell