Four Year Strong – “Brain Pain” – a review

Band: Four Year Strong
Album title: Brain Pain
Label: Pure Noise Records
Release Date: 02/28/2020

Track list:

  1. It’s Cool
  2. Get Out Of My Head
  3. Crazy Pills
  4. Talking Myself In Circles
  5. Learn To Love The Lie
  6. Brain Pain
  7. Mouth Full Of Dirt
  8. Seventeen
  9. Be Good When I’m Gone
  10. The Wort Part About Me
  11. Usefully Useless
  12. Young At Heart


Massachusetts based four-piece, Four Year Strong, started out in 2001 when they were still in high school, so they can look back on almost 20 years in the business. They formed their own niche in the music world with a mix of pop-punk with hardcore elements, never shying back from breaking creative boundaries.

Tomorrow, the band’s fifth record “Brain Pain” will be released and we have checked it out in advance.

While the band always stayed true to their sound, they also endeavor to constantly redefine their own sound.

One thing, that was hard to do for us in the past, is the writing in a for us personal way, with which our numerous fans can also identify with“, singer/guitarist Dan O’Connor explains. “On this record, we have really tried to find what connects us with our younger fans or with the people, that listen to us for a long time and still see us as younger kids.”

The band – Dan O’Connor (singer/guitarist), Alan Day (singer/guitarist), Joe Weiss (bass) and Jake Massucco (drums) – started two years ago with the conception of ideas for Brain Pain and concentrated for one and a half years on realizing those thoughts.

We had probably 40 song ideas, to bring the creative juices to flow and some of them grew into a song, that are now on the record“, Day explains and adds that it was important for the band, not to rush the record or add some musical or logistic boundaries. “We didn’t want to put a tight deadline on the album, because we wanted to make sure, that we take the time to write the best possible songs. In the past, our songwriting very much depended on releasing something on time to go on tour with. This time we really had the opportunity to take our time and work ideas through.”

To capture their sound, Four Year Strong brought producer Will Putney on board. Putney has worked on “Enemy Of The World” in 2010 and therefore already had a close connection to the band.

We have really put all our emotions into this music. That’s why we wanted to work with somebody that we knew would bother just as much as we would. Will was that guy.” Day says.

Four Year Strong released their last album, called Four Year Strong, almost five years ago (not counting the anniversary release of their record “Rise Or Die Trying” in 2017). So far three songs from “Brain Pain” have been released, “Talking Myself In Circles”, “Learn To Love The Lie” and the title-track itself. Admittedly, whenever it gets quiet around a band, one tends to forget about them. But when I heard “Talking Myself In Circles” for the first time, I was instantly hooked up again. Who can stay in their seats, when such a catchy bass line opens a song? The first track on the record “It’s cool” starts out with an equally catchy guitar intro. It makes it very much clear that Four Year Strong are back. On “Brain Pain” the band again shows the variety of their music. From heavier tracks like “Brain Pain” and “Crazy Pills’ to faster tracks like “Mouth Full Of Dirt”, the orchestral ballad “Be Good When I’m Gone” to the groovy song “Get Out Of My Head”, the record doesn’t get boring.

I think “Get Out Of My Head” takes a special place in our hearts, because it was the first song we completed front to back“, Day explains. “Almost nothing of it changed from the first to the finished version. It feels like a turning point in our writing process.”

Topic-wise Brain Pain represents the band more directly and conveys connecting topics at a for Four Year Strong so far unknown way that leads to a complete story.

I think, that this, from a lyrical point of view, is the greatest possible extent, that we ever put in a record“, O’Connor explains.

There are many more bands now, that have this mix of heavy, but poppy style, than in the past. We wanted this record to stand out and be its own version thereof”, Massucco explains. “It was our goal to make an album that feels authentic and not flatter some kind of version of us that people possibly want to hear“, states Day. “I think we achieved that this time“.

We always try to develop the sound of our band”, O’Connor adds. “I think, this is one of the things that separates us from some of the longtime active bands. Sometimes you risk being satisfied too much with where you are at the moment. We always try to broaden the boundaries of Four Year Strong piece by piece. Thereby it stays exciting for us”, he sums up, when asked, how the band achieved to stay relevant for so long. “In The past, we always tossed out many things and looked, what sticks. Now we try to approach things a little more thought out…. like old people would do it’, he adds laughing. ‘But we are really happy, how it all turned out.”

Well, we are also happy about how this record turned out and we strongly suggest, you check it out tomorrow.

The band will be out on the 20th-anniversary tour with Silverstein, starting today at the London Music Hall in London, Canada, ending April 11th at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, Canada. So far there are only a few European dates announced.

For further information on the band, follow their social media:



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