If you thought a tenth anniversary tour of ‘Rise or Die Trying’ would conclude Four Year Strong throwbacks, you were wrong. ‘Some of You Will Like This, Some of You Won’t’ sees the Massachusetts quartet record fresh tunes, re-imagine fan-favourites and dig out some rarities. Although the pop-punkers sometimes miss the mark, it’ll appease fans who’re waiting for LP No.5.
Beginning with unplugged ‘It Must Really Suck To Be…’, it’s a noticeably different experience to previous albums. Buzzing, chugging guitars are replaced by a gorgeous piano arrangement, allowing the vocals to shine. Despite losing the metalcore breakdown, this gentler take makes an impact.
As the album title suggests, fans will either love or hate the mellower ‘Heroes Get Remembered…’. The hardcore-referencing track becomes a meaningful tribute to good friends, boasting “Ooh”s and “Whoa”s worthy of The Lion King soundtrack. Similarly, unplugging ‘Go Down In History’ sacrifices mood-boosting pace to highlight sincere, philosophical questions.
Unfortunately some tracks sound better ‘plugged in’. Despite its new folky charm, the once-fizzing ‘We All Float Down Here’ and its rallying cries of “tick-tock” have been dampened. Again, while heartfelt ‘For Our Fathers’ works well acoustic, old-timer ‘This Summer Session’ might benefit from a jolt of electricity.
Fans can also enjoy two new tracks: ‘Nice to Know’ and ‘Let Me Down Again’. The former is high-energy, featuring a glockenspiel, thick bass and angular guitars. Pissed-off ‘Let Me Down Again’ is its antithesis, serving up disappointment with country vibes and pop-rock production.
Critics who’ve accused the band of being pop-punk-by-numbers may be surprised by the reinventions. ‘Who Cares’ gets a rock ‘n’ roll singalong and a swaggering guitar breakdown. Despite a clunky start, 2008’s ‘Abandon Ship’ benefits from bluesy guitars and strong, controlled vocals.
The album title says it best- some will like it, some won’t. New listeners can expect acoustic rock with deceivingly-complicated arrangements and tight vocal harmonies, while Four Year Strong veterans will enjoy unexpected throwbacks. Though staunch fans of tough-guy pop-punk may baulk, the band who stylised ‘happy-hardcore’ probably won’t care.
‘Some Of You Will Like This, Some Of You Won’t’ by Four Year Strong is released on 8th September on Pure Noise Records.
Words by Clare O’Shea (@Clare_OShea)