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9 out of 10
Irony of ironies, just as I go to review a band that played a role in getting through my teenage years, I get a huge spot. Thus when it came to sit down and do reviews it seemed that fate had decided that it wanted me to write about Enemy of the World. So fate here you go, here's your review, and it's a pretty easy one to write:
THIS IS A GREAT ALBUM
But because I don't want to piss off fate, and risk another mahoosive spot, I should probably write some more.
It's been a long time since we heard new, original, songs from Four Year Strong, and many will question whether the long wait can be justified. But there's only one yardstick we can measure that by and that is the music itself and I'm pretty happy that I had to wait for this. Four Year Strong weren't just being lazy in this period; they were permanently on the road, taking a break only to record a covers mini-album, and the years of playing shows really shows in Four Year Strong's music. What was tight on Rise or Die Trying sounds utterly flawless on Enemy of the World and the production work is top class, allowing the superb drum work to sit perfectly in the mix, firing everything around it forward. This album also sees the synth work become slightly more prominent without ever dominating, a balance that works perfectly.
The album kicks off in indomitable fashion with It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now, a pulsating track that is guaranteed to start almost every FYS show from now on. And while On A Saturday is as catchy as anything off Rise or Die Trying, the album explodes at track 3 with second single Wasting Time (Eternal Summer). This is the best single FYS have, and possibly ever will, write. It contains all the trademark FYS moments: dual vocals, bass-heavy drum work, a moshpit inducing breakdown, and chant-able vocals. If people aren't listening to this and reminiscing for a summer long gone then there is something wrong with them. This is a summer "anthem" and while I usually hate that word there is almost no other that will do it justice. Wasting Time will be the song that gets FYS a whole new legion of fans, believe me on that.
However, what is a positive can also be a criticism.
There is definitely a trademark FYS sound, and it is all the things I listed before. Because of this the band has been open to attack by those who claim they are slightly formulaic. However, Enemy of the World certainly marks a progression from Rise or Die Trying in this respect. There is a more subtle variation in the songs than there was on Rise or Die Trying, and it is unlikely that Find My Way Back and the eponymous album closer would have made it on to their previous albums. Find My Way Back is also a perfect candidate for the next single, showcasing the bands ability to write some of the catchiest chorus' in the business. Although, this is an album chock full of potential singles, and don't be too shocked if the equally good One Step At A Time pops its head into the singles chart.
Enemy of the World is a great album, one that combines immediacy and lasting value, a combination that can only launch its score into the highest echelons. I also have a more than sneaking suspicion that this will be one of those albums that only improves when played during the summer.
I don't think too many fans will have a problem in asserting that FYS have improved as a band since their last effort, and I don't think too many people will be anything but delighted with the album FYS have put out.
1. It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now
2. On A Saturday
3. Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)
4. Nineteen With Neck Tatz
5. Find My Way Back
6. What The Hell Is A Gigawatt
7. One Step At A Time
8. This Body Pays The Bill$
9. Paul Revere's Midnight Ride
10. Flannel Is The Colour Of My Energy
11. Enemy Of The World