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EP REVIEW: ‘Go Down In History’ - Four Year Strong
Four Year Strong is back at it with their latest EP, Go Down In History, making a strong statement that the band that completely blew us away with its first two original full-length albums hasn’t gone anywhere.
Four Year Strong’s last album, In Some Way, Shape, Or Form, was considered by some to be a disappointment. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it lacked much of what makes the band so unique in this genre.
Well for those that felt that way, have no fear, because the super crunchy guitars, gritty group vocals, and unpredictable musicality are back in full force with Go Down In History.
There’s nothing shy about this EP at all. Much like the opening track to their 2010 album, Enemy of the World, Four Year Strong starts us off with a punch to the face with “What’s In The Box?” Not only does this song immediately greet us with many of the familiar styles and sounds from past work, but it also presents us with continued growth and maturity in the band’s songwriting.
The chorus features the lyrics “when the push comes to shove, I’ll shove it down your throat. Before you mess it all up, make sure like hell you don’t.”
Upon first listen, I thought: Welcome back, boys.
It normally takes a little while to listen to an album or EP before I feel comfortable writing a review. Not with this one. From the very start, I was getting chills to hear Four Year Strong hit us with the familiar, yet new punch we all love.
“Living Proof Of A Stubborn Youth” starts with a walking guitar riff that leads you to wonder what’s coming next. The song halts to a bridge that nearly resembles a whisper before breaking into their trademarked belt-it-out finish.
Upon listening, by now you’re likely already convinced on this EP, and then “Tread Lightly” takes you on another walk along a guitar line that drives the song into a group chorus that is sure to fill up whatever speakers you’re sampling the tune from.
What once again took me back to the days of Enemy of the World is the way this EP closes itself out. Enemy of the World ended with two powerful tracks, the first being the album’s title track.
This time around, Four Year Strong begins to walk us home with the title track, “Go Down In History”. Quite simply, it’s everything you’d want in a song from these guys.
The track starts off with an anthem-like introduction, only to break down to a verse that builds and builds and builds until you find yourself in a chorus belted out in call-and-response-form between guitarists/vocalists Dan O’Connor and Alan Day. They blast you away with as catchy a chorus as the band has written to date.
“Live like a time bomb, that doesn’t have long. Go down in history!” are lyrics that are sure to be a crowd pleaser at live shows for years and years to come.
Finally, the guys close out the album with “So You’re Saying There’s A Chance”, summing up the album with another catchy, unpredictable, and musically impressive song.
Four Year Strong puts it all together with Go Down In History. It’s a great chapter for the band and its fans. Many were left to wonder what was next for the band after its last album, and it appears they’ve made a statement that the same combination of sounds and songwriting that made the band so unique is back and here to stay.
Personally, listening to the EP was extremely exciting. Four Year Strong blew everyone away over a four-year span (clever, eh?) from 2007-2010 with its full-lengths Rise Or Die Trying and Enemy Of The World.
There’s something that connects you to the pop punk bands you love, and oftentimes it has to do with the sounds and messages you first heard. With Four Year Strong, a lot of that familiarity has come back along with a bunch of new and unexpected twists.
This EP will reconnect many fans with Four Year Strong.
ALBUM REVIEW: ‘Never Hungover Again’ - Joyce Manor
Gritty, angry, nostalgic, powerful. All these words can usually be used to sum up the feeling after a day of happy times and a little too much booze. I’m talking heavy hangovers people! Well fear not, Joyce Manor can put them all to rest with “Never Hungover Again.” The third release from the SoCal punks, and one that will be a favorite of angsty confused new wave/punk enthusiasts everywhere. Only nineteen minutes, “Never Hungover Again” will be aiding hangovers and heartbreaks all summer long, and then some.
Barry Johnson serenades us through ten short songs with angst driven lyrics and a cavalier, early 90’s tone in his voice. Short bass and drum driven tunes such as “Christmas Card” and “Falling in Love Again” will be fan favorites for all the sad puppies out there. Not to mention, will make for some active stage dives at any upcoming live shows. Simple and driving, the songs are well crafted to keep listeners hooked throughout the whole album,( besides if you don’t have nineteen minutes to spare you need to lighten up that schedule).
Easy, soft, and personal, “End Of The Summer” has a nice simple swing to it. Another tale of summer love and the struggle of how to keep it prospering, Joyce Manor takes what seems like a 50’s sock hop jam, and pisses it off into their own creation. Moving and slightly aggressive, yet relaxing and soothing, who knew it could be done?
As a band, finding your sound may be difficult at first, but what’s even harder is making sure not every song sounds exactly the same. The Manor men do a great job of keeping what they have going, but being able to decipher songs from each other. While they found and held their sound with open bass driven verses and waves of sound choruses, some songs off the record, such as “Heart Tattoo”, reach into the past and bring up remnants of faster paced punk we may have first discovered as youngsters. Maybe a little bit of Blink, a little bit of MxPx, but clearly all Joyce Manor.
The single off the record “Catalina Fight Song”, is definitely one of the grittier, more vocal driven songs that really hone in on what Joyce Manor is all about. Showing what they have in only a minute and 5 seconds, “Catalina Fight Song” nails the vocal dexterity of Johnson, and the all around musicianship of the band. Believe or not, punks can be legit musicians too.
Ending with a jingly and easy tune is “Heated Swimming Pool”. With a relaxing vibe and soft vocals, some may get confused that this is a gentle happy little number. Don’t jump into that judge pool too fast boys and girls, with lyrics such as ” I wish you would have died in high school, so you could be somebody’s idol”, the final song has all the darkness subject matter that we fell in love with. Short and too the point, it definitely doesn’t disappoint. Joyce Manor, we toast to you and “Never Hungover Again”. Hopefully you speak the truth.
blink-182 To Write And Record In The Fall
Mark Hoppus recently stated that after their summer tour, blink-182 will begin the writing and recording process for their new album. Let it be known that Angels & Airwaves will also be touring in the fall. Click here to listen for yourselves what Mark had to say.
NEW MUSIC VIDEO: ‘Go Down In History’ - Four Year Strong