Four Year Strong hates feeling stagnant. The Massachusetts heavy pop-punk collective spent the first nine years of their career building a diehard following and touring the world non-stop, yet only released two full-length efforts -- 2005’s “It’s Our Time” and 2007’s “Rise Or Die Trying.”
Now, they’re playing catch-up. The quartet kicked off their partnership with Pete Wentz’s powerhouse label Decaydance Records in March 2010 when they dropped their third studio album “Enemy Of The World.” Just a mere year and a half later, the group will unveiled the follow-up “In Some Way, Shape Or Form” this past November. That’s extremely quick between album releases.
On the Heavy Grind
Although it appears as if Wentz is working them like an angry tyrant with an iron fist, Four Year Strong guitarist and vocalist Alan Day insists it was the band’s decision to put out the new LP so quickly. “It’s just something we’ve been working on for a long time. It’s something we’ve been dying to do,” he explains. “Around the time we released ‘End Of The World,’ it was almost three years before that record came out, so we didn’t wanna do that again.”
Typically known for happier material with a popcore edge while playing vocal patty-cake a la Blink 182, Four Year Strong dismisses the synth resonance and lighthearted lyrical content that once embodied their earlier efforts. Instead, they opt for a more melodically aggressive style yet still pass the mic around on their fourth full-length “In Some Way, Shape Or Form.”
All throughout this 12-track collection, the Massachusetts group goes outside of the box as they focus on broad topics ranging from personal struggle within friends and family to folks dealing with OCD and the declining state of the music industry. While heads have gotten a taste of their mainstream agro-rock flair on catchy delights “Stuck In The Middle” and the leadoff single “Just Drive,” the quartet brings more of a thrash-driven heaviness to pulsating bangers like “Injected,” “Sweet Kerosene” and “Heaven Wasn’t Built To Hold Me.”
The Massachusetts group goes outside of the box as they focus on broad topics ranging from personal struggle within friends and family to folks dealing with OCD and the declining state of the music industry.
Simply put, this is the different and more mature side of Four Year Strong. “We wanted to touch on subjects we haven’t touched on in the past. All our songs have always been a little upbeat and happy whereas [this time], we wanted to touch on darker subjects we never really did before,” Day says.
“I wouldn’t call it a new Four Year Strong overall,” he continues. “We’re still the same old band. We still have the same intentions and the same mentality we always had. I’d say more than anything else, Four Year Strong is shown in a totally different light and an angle that’s never been seen before, but that’s always been there.”
As the light shines, however, it’s easy to see that the band has downsized from five members to four. Though there have been plenty of lineup changes throughout the course of their decade-long career, there was a breakdown amongst the current members and Josh Lyford -- the former keyboardist and synthesizer extraordinaire who has been with the group since 2006. This past April, he left Four Year Strong.
“Everything was all weird in the band for a while and some of the members weren’t speaking to each other,” Day recalls. “It was just rough and it kinda came down to … we knew that he didn’t really want to be in the band anymore, but he wasn’t gonna do anything about it. It was obvious. He didn’t really want to be doing this, he didn’t want to be touring and he didn’t want to be playing the keyboard. He had another band he was more interested in and things like that, so we decided it was best to part ways for everyone.”
With Lyford out of the picture, the quartet is more united than ever before. Everyone is on the same page, their creativity is at an all time high and they are ready to perform their new material in concert. In fact, the four-piece are practically ready to get back into the studio.
“To be honest, we’re already dying to go back and make another record. It was so much fun making this last one. We wrote so many songs that didn’t even make this record and we have so many ideas for more songs,” Day explains. “But at the same time, we’re not gonna go right back into the studio because we have plenty of touring to do on this record and we already got plans we’re working on. So were not gonna rush back in like we did, but we definitely have it on our minds already.”
Four Year Strong doesn’t need to rush anyways. They’re all caught-up now.
- Dan O’Connor - Vocalist/Guitarist
- Alan Day - Vocalist/Guitarist
- Joe Weiss - Bassist
- Jake Massucco - Drummer
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