The title of Four Year Strong's 2014 EP, Go Down In History, held an odd sort of weightiness. While it's silly to imagine average adults remembering Four Year Strong in 20 years as some sort of generation-defining rock band, the idea of the guys going down in history isn't so far out if you apply it on a smaller scale, directly to the scene that birthed the band.
Take your first listen of Four Year Strong's new self-titled full-length below—one of our most anticipated releases this summer—exclusively on Fuse, and read on to hear how the band's footprint has gotten so big.
In the late 2000s, the Worcester, Mass. quartet was as popular as any pop-punk act around. A quintet for its first two LPs—2007's Rise or Die Trying and 2010's Enemy of the World—the band mastered the blending of a genre that was pop-punk at its core, but taken to severe extremes.
Their choruses were catchy and often poppier than Four Year Strong's peers, featuring gang vocals that made singing along all the easier; they also dipped their toes deeper and deeper into hardcore elements, utilizing straight-up breakdowns and making the opportunities for head-banging as bountiful as toe-tapping. The breakneck pace of their tempo prompted fans to name the genre "happy hardcore" or "easycore." Along with Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong ruled this decidedly New Found Glory-influenced sub-genre.
After departing for a more straightforward rock sound on 2011's In Some Way, Shape or Form, Four Year Strong found its momentum had vanished, with fans rejecting the change. That prompted a couple years of non-activity from the act before a comeback EP in 2014, which was a warmly accepted return to form.
With the latest offering, a self-titled full-length due out Tuesday, June 2, Four Year Strong presents an album that triggers nostalgia in a unique way—2007 and 2010 aren't so far in the rear-view mirror, but the lack of a notable easycore band in Four Year Strong's wake made the genre feel long-gone for a decent length of time–while the band decidedly and aggressively improves upon its own signature abilities.
The new album, produced by hardcore legend Kurt Ballou of Converge, is Four Year Strong's rawest-sounding effort, brightly contrasting the sheen on the band's most popular effort, Enemy of the World. It's carried by slashing guitar riffs and call-and-return vocals courtesy of Four Year Strong's co-frontmen, Alan Day and Dan O'Connor, and as usual, the lyricism is biting. On album opener "I Hold Myself In Contempt," the vocalists snark, "You're not just another nail in my coffin / You're the box i'm laid to rot in," while tunes like "Gravity" and "I'm A Big, Bright, Shining Star" serve as highlights in their own rights.
Four Year Strong proves that, in fact, this band will go down in history in its own, relatively small way: Their unique, high-powered offerings are unlikely to be forgotten in pop-punk's lore.