Four Year Strong
About Four Year Strong
An aggressive, but deeply melodic fusion of hardcore, emo pop, and pop-punk, Worcester, Massachusetts combo Four Year Strong spent the middle part of the 2000s building a sturdy fan base through hard touring and a series of D.I.Y. releases, leading up to 2007's Rise or Die Trying. Their sound took a more serious tone on 2011's In Some Way, Shape, or Form, though it was their 2015 critically acclaimed eponymous fifth album that helped them find a wider audience. After experimenting with alternate versions of earlier material, they kicked off the next decade with 2020's Brain Pain.
Although they had existed in a previous form, the band's core lineup -- vocalist/guitarists Dan O'Connor and Alan Day, bassist Joe Weiss, drummer Jake Massucco, and synth player Josh Lyford -- was cemented in 2003 during the musicians' attendance at Doherty Memorial High School. Taking influence from the likes of Lifetime, Gorilla Biscuits, and New Found Glory, Four Year Strong honed their early sound over two self-released EPs and the 2005 full-length, It's Our Time, before signing a deal with New Jersey-based imprint I Surrender Records. Their label debut, Rise or Die Trying, was released in September 2007 and tour dates with groups like the Starting Line, Valencia, and From First to Last kept them on the road for the remainder of the year. Their next release, an album of '90s covers called Explains It All, arrived at the end of 2009 and was followed a year later by the original set, Enemy of the World.
At this point, the band decided to lose its synth element, paring down to a quartet and parting ways with Josh Lyford in the process. In 2011, Four Year Strong went into the studio with producer David Bendeth to work on their fourth album, In Some Way, Shape, or Form, which was released at the end of the year. Their serious new tone took many fans by surprise and they didn't deliver a follow-up for a few years. Released in 2014, their Go Down in History EP was considered a sort of return to form. In early 2015, nearly four years after their last LP, the band released their self-titled fifth album and first for California-based indie Pure Noise. The album was a success for Four Year Strong, reaching number 77 on Billboard's Top 200. They followed it up two years later with a collection of reworked and re-recorded material called Some of You Will Like This, Some of You Won't and joined the Vans Warped Tour in 2018. 2020's Brain Pain marked Four Year Strong's return to new studio material and was co-produced with Will Putney. ~ Corey Apar & Timothy Monger