A popular complaint against Four Year Strong’s first song released for In Some Way, Shape, Or Form, “Stuck in the Middle,” was that it lacked the riffs that the band has become known for. Despite featuring a complex bridge, the song does lean heavily on the pop side of pop-punk. What we are given on the second song, “Falling On You,” is a more riff-based, hardcore-esque effort.
The band has certainly seemed to clean up a lot of the grit that was found on 2010’s Enemy of the World, opting for a more polished, alt-radio sound. Though the core duo of vocalists/guitarists/songwriters Dan O’Connor and Alan Day is still intact, the cleaner sound could be due to the loss of former hardcore vocalist/keyboardist Josh Lyford. It will take more tracks to see if the album retains the grittiness of past releases. That being said, this is a definite improvement over the previous track.
From the opening chords and riff provided by Day and O’Connor, the heaviness is immediately evident. The crashing drums from Jake Massucco are also a pleasure to listen to. Once the verse kicks in, the singing drops in, with slightly softer vocals from O’Connor, backed by highly effect-driven riffs. As the chorus kicks in, it becomes immediately clear why the band decided to push back the release of the album for this song. The hook in the chorus SOARS. With the combination of the drumming, guitar interplay and singing, this could prove to be a fan-favorite at the upcoming AP Fall Tour.
While some fans were initially disappointed by “Stuck in the Middle,” I predict near-unanimous approval for “Falling On You,” which is easily the stronger of the two. It only helped increase my anticipation for the album and made me kick myself more for having to miss the AP Tour for school. With the album still two months away, hopefully the bearded quartet will choose this as the single and music video over the previous song.