Ah, summer time – the time of the year when everything comes to life. Winter’s bitter and harsh days have melted away into sunny skies and warm weather. Days are now spent pool-side or by the lake as you bask in the revitalizing sunlight. Sunburnt faces, cargo shorts, and skaters roam freely on the streets as ice cream trucks slowly crawl through the neighborhoods. Road trips and cabin jaunts soon become the center of your plans, which are slated to make the most of each passing day. Late evenings may be spent around a bonfire or at a skate park with friends, watching the sun set below the horizon and giving rise to starry nights that leave a youthful twinkle in your eye. You’ve got your bags packed, your skateboard in hand, your money in your pocket, and your keys in hand, but what you’re really missing is a summer soundtrack to blare out of your stereo. Thankfully, Italy’s 4th N Goal has exactly what your summer ears have been dying to hear. Their new EP, Turn On the Light, is packed with all of the head-bopping riffs and catchy choruses that you need to narrate your summer adventures.
Kicking off this album is “Pickles”, a catchy, bouncy track that exudes nothing but good-old fashioned pop-punk fun in every potent riff. A fade-in melodic riff steadily rises and explodes into a frenzy of hard-hitting energetic riffs and pulsating percussion that will instantly having you smiling and kicking your feet in the air. Spastic melodic arias and pick-slides abound this track as guitarists Tommy and Dimi weave punctual poppy chords with grooving punk and easycore-infused riffs that are sure to induce maximum foot-stomping and head-bobbing. Drummer Tommy Poletti executes flawless percussive elements of crashing cymbal play, excellent fills and rolls, and toe-tapping footwork and snare hits that perfectly compliment the rest of the instrumentation as bassist Mike Frutto’s apt licks steadily groove on. Vocalists Mocho and Sam present a raw and honest quality in their vocal display of smooth and slightly scratchy clean vocals and emphasizing their lyrics with segments of shouts and high-flying harmonies that sail overtop the infectious hail of vibrant and energetic instrumentation as they pour their hearts and souls into each verse.
Up next is “Red Line Extreme”, another fun-loving track that will groove its way deep into your ears with an amalgamation of punchy riffs and dynamic instrumentation. An extremely brief lick and drum fill quickly erupt into fast-paced airy riffs and driving percussion. Guitarists Tommy and Dimi take a much more poppy approach to their instrumentation, crafting perfect head-bobbing riffs and soaring, spastic melodic overlays and arias that practically bleed youthful exuberance. Tommy Poletti once again flexes his percussive prowess, throwing everything he’s got into every throbbing hit, kick, crash, and expertly-crafted fill that will have you violently head-banging and sending your body soaring through the air. Mocho and Sam audibly throw all of their passion into each verse, adding tasteful harmonies, short spurts of yells, and the occasional accentuation of a gruff, scratchy quality for lyrical emphasis as they flex their commanding vocal dynamics.
Though tracks such as “Pickles” and “Red Line Extreme” showcase the band’s lively musicianship and energetic qualities, 4th N Goal’s excellent cover of Bring Me the Horizon’s “Drown” is without a doubt the album’s stand-out track. Guitarists Tommy and Dimi replace Bring Me the Horizon’s previously slower, melodic and emotionally dread-filled riffs with invigorating fast-paced punk riffs and charging bursts of melodic licks and solos, and the occasional squealing pinch harmonic to invoke full-body rhythmic spasms that you can’t help but fall in love with. Tommy Poletti also modifies Bring Me the Horizon’s driving percussion, installing faster head-bopping and limb-flailing percussive elements of sharp snare hits and crashing cymbal play as Mike Frutto’s bass licks pop and flourish overtop the heart-racing instrumentation. Mocho and Sam juxtapose layers of excellent cleanly sung harmonies with spasms of gruff yells and shouts to retain the original vocal quality while still giving the lyrics an audible 4th N Goal & pop-punk-esque spin on the tonality and delivery. What makes this track truly stand out is the perfect harmony in which the instrumentation and vocal delivery fully thrive in as they give a much more energetic and vivacious approach to a heart-wrenching song.
The album closes with “Ken Burns”, a lively track that will instantly grip your ears with eye-dilating, commanding instrumentation that will have you singing and flailing along. A powerful eruption of vibrant, fast-paced poppy punk riffage and pounding, quick percussion instantly greet your ears from the moment you press play. Tommy and Dimi take a more punk approach in their instrumentation with quick, palm muted riffs and slamming chords that are accentuated with spastic melodic overlays and soaring, bent notes that retain that fun, exciting, driving pop-punk feeling in their performance. Tommy Poletti once again wages war against his kit with a series of head-bopping footwork and drumstick-snapping hits, fills and cymbal crashes as Mike delivers a quick infestation of grooving bass licks. Following parallel to the energetic and whiplash-inducing instrumentation are Mocho and Sam’s commanding, relatable lyrics and quick, heartfelt- although sometimes unintelligible- layered vocals as the band drives home the classic, elating pop-punk sense of youthful recklessness that will leave you physically exhausted by the end of the track.
Overall, 4th N Goal have created one of the most lively pop-punk releases of 2015. The band’s penchant for energetic, vibrant, and vivacious pop-punk instrumentation audibly bleeds throughout the duration of this dynamic EP. Where 4th N Goal noticeably trips up is in their vocal delivery, which, in tracks such as “Ken Burns” and “Out of Tortillas” can become very muddled and unintelligible. But where they lack in vocal clarity they excel in instrumental delivery and excellence that very clearly states or accentuates the lyrical and vocal emotion in each track. Pack your bags, grab your skateboard, and head out to the car, because summer’s warmth is upon us, and 4th N’ Goal’s Turn On the Light EP is the perfect start to a windows-down, pizza-and-road-trip-filled, sunny season. (Katt Hass)
For Fans Of: Neck Deep, Chunk! No Captain Chunk!, Four Year Strong, Set Your Goals