Four Letter Word
A Nasty Piece of Work (B.Y.O Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Not known for its punk rock, Wales, Cardiff just happens to be the home of Four Letter Word. Melodic and fast, they stick with furious punk rock that stands somewhere between the lighter side of hardcore and pop-punk. But, just because they're melodic doesn't mean they're pop-punk. Make no mistake about it, they're not. They're all about playing fast and shaking the listener.
Opening with "Sleight of Hand," the band instantly rips into heavy guitar riffs that remain tough and edgy, even with the melodic overtone set upon it. Pounding in the background is the drums, which control the pace of the music with a one-two combo of powerful cymbals and snare mixed together. Even tougher than the drums though is the base, which thumps and pumps the music full of life. Of course, the vocals lead the song with slightly rough, slightly gruff vocals that take a shot at society and the mess that surrounds it.
With more social political commentary, "Rich White Ghetto" attacks middle-class suburban life. Lines like "Forget Rio and Soweto, here the poor only have one car" and "Let's go down to the rich white ghetto, where the cars look better upside down," clearly show their contempt for the 'rich white ghetto.' Fast and aggressive, the music is powerful and moving. The lyrics though, seem to be clouded by their contempt. Although they bring up a few good points, they're just not as clever or as intriguing as they could to fully impact the listener.
"Nothing to Offer" blasts the band at full speed ahead. Keeping some melody, they let some go to absorb a rougher punk rock sound. The vocals become a bit gruffer, and seem to spit out the words faster, while the band plays with more speed and energy. A good combination, the melody they do keep present helps the song go down smooth, while the fast paced licks make the song quite aggressive and tough.
But, "Can You Hear The Words?" takes it a bit too far. The music is still the same, but the vocals go deep, adding a very gruff texture to each sound that comes out, trying to give the song a better street-punk sound. But it doesn't work. The music still taps with some melody, while the vocals try too hard to be very gutter-sounding. A little is good, the band can pull off some, but this is too much.
Ending with "Signing Off," the band ends on a high note -- powerful and aggressive. This is the punk that helps make the band what they are. The vocals are clear, the music is melodic, and the overall tone is fast and full of hammering beats. Here is what you'll come to like on the disc.
It's funny, I couldn't have even guessed these guys were foreigners if I didn't read it in the bio. The vocals do not hint at an English accent, or any accent from their native land. It's just good, fun punk rock. Easy to get into, hard not to react too, once you hit play you'll begin to move. I'll give this disc an A-.