When I initially contacted Universal Motown about an advance of Four Year Strong’s hotly anticipated major label debut, Enemy Of The World, they told me I was SOL. When I asked why, they told me that someone had stolen the master copy.
That damn monkeywizard…
After reading his pathetic attempt at reviewing, I PM’d monkeywizard asking how I could obtain the new FYS album to give it the proper review it deserved. After a lengthy back and forth exchange in which he made fun of my 5950 hat collection and reminded me that Aaron Rodgers has never won a playoff game, he made it known that there was nothing I could do to get that master copy. Little did he know that I had some brand new Set Your Goals’ demos (monkeywizard’s a big fan). So in exchange for the demos (which were really just songs from New Again tagged as SYG tracks – monkeywizard is going to be pissed), I finally acquired the master copy of Enemy Of The World. After my first listen, I was floored. It was immediately evident that this album was built with machine guns, spiked bats, jagged rocks, and skulls. Oh yeah, I can’t forget about the wolves either. Enemy Of The World hits harder, runs faster, and operates more smoothly than its predecessor. Yes, the duel-vocals, infectious choruses, and delicious breakdowns are still present, only this time they sound a lot bigger. The production difference between this and Rise or Die Trying is dramatic. And you can thank Machine for that. He found the perfect balance between grit and gloss, as Four Year Strong have never sounded crisper.
Enemy Of The World still contains all the elements of FYS that you love – it’s just more refined and focused, as the songs don’t tend to blend together this time around. Also, Four Year Strong has constructed some songs that could see some success on radio, such as the NFG-tinged “Find My Way Back,” and its chorus that’ll have you pogo-ing up and down in no time, as well as “This Body Pays The Bill$,” which may feature the best chorus the band has written to date. “Flannel Is The Color Of My Energy” will be immediately become a fan favorite, as Josh Lyford’s synth works as the perfect complement to Dan O’Connor and Alan Day’s double barrel guitar attack.
But don’t fret yet faithful readers, Four Year Strong still brings the xmoshx. Album opener “It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now” is bursting with breakdowns, while “What The Hell Is A Gigawatt?” showcases FYS doing what they do best, which is giving beatdowns in the key of happy. The blistering “On A Saturday” is paced by Lyford’s synthesizer work, while the call and return between vocalists O’Connor and Day highlights “Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride.”
But it wouldn’t truly be a Four Year Strong record if there wasn’t at least 5-6 instances of gang vocals, and, boy, does Enemy of the World deliver. From the first single, “Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)” to the epic closer whose punches have the strength of kicks, it is a sing-along smorgasbord. “Nineteen With Neck Tatz” is basically all (awesome) gang vocals, as drummer Jake Massucco provides the spine to the mayhem. While each track offers some variety of gang vocals, nothing compares to the chanting and howling of the aforementioned album closer, “Enemy Of The World.” The band takes all the best parts from previous songs and throw them all together into one big party. Lyrics such as “And if you bring the heart/then I’ll bring the beat!” will end up in no less than 235 Facebook and Twitter statuses the day the album releases. It’s the biggest, loudest, most fist-pumping-est song to come from the Worcester quintet.
Plain and simple, Enemy Of The World is a pop-punk juggernaut. It is exactly how I wanted Four Year Strong to follow up the much-adored Rise or Die Trying, as they have topped that album by far. Fans will need a new pair of mesh shorts to mosh in, because their old pair will be ruined after listening to Enemy Of The World for the first time.