Four Year Strong show that growing up can be tricky on their fourth album, In Some Way, Shape, or Form. For the newly minted quartet, growing up involves cutting the synthesizers out of the mix, and it’s a change that finds the band returning as a tighter, more serious-sounding unit. One of Four Year Strong’s most charming elements was their infectious pop energy, a feeling that came through their music even as they pushed it in an increasingly hardcore-influenced direction. In comparison to their other albums, In Some Way feels like that spark has faded a bit. The energy is still still there, and songs like “Fairweather Fan” still have a driving quality that makes them hard to ignore, but it just doesn’t feel like the bandmembers are having as much fun as they used to. This straight-faced, more serious version of the band still knows how to crank out some solid songs, but it would seem that, in maturing, Four Year Strong have lost their way. While it’s foolish to think that a band will never change its sound, especially in genres as mercurial as punk and hardcore, it still comes as a surprise when a band goes through such a pronounced sea change, and it’s a change that fans of the band may need a little time to adjust to.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney