April 4, 2008

CD Review: Four Letter Lie - What A Terrible Thing to Say

Are you looking for well-crafted screamo mixed with a little post-hardcore, with plenty of pop? Then Four Letter Lie may be the band for you. Perhaps not for me, but I am sure they have fans out there. This quintet from Minneapolis, Minnesota, definitely knows how to play both sides towards the middle. There is enough poppy hook-laden material to draw in that crowd, while there is enough hardcore-esque moments to draw in those looking for something with a little punch. The result will be a mixed pit, which will see alternating crowds doing their thing throughout each song. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is also not conducive to drawing diehard fans from either quarter. Of course, an outsider such as myself needs to be ready to reconcile one with the other and attempt to judge the music on its own merits.

On my first pass through Four Letter Lie's latest, What A Terrible Thing to Say, I was almost ready to write them off, something I still may do. However, I stuck with it and have plowed through the ten song set a few times, and while it is not exactly to my taste, there is no denying that they know how to write catchy tunes that rattle around in your head for awhile. Granted, I found that they rattled right on out after I stopped playing them, but that could just be my brain being wired more towards other genres and styles. When Four Letter Lie was at the heaviest was when they were most effective, especially when they added bits of melody to the mix.

The band made their Victory Records debut in 2006 with Let Your Body Takeover and is now back with their sophomore release following spots on Warped Tour and Taste of Chaos, furthering national exposure. The blend of music they play seems poised for good things, and following that national touring exposure, I suspect they will find a boost in album sales with the release of What A Terrible Thing to Say.

As I continue to listen to this album, despite the catchy-heavy-catchy cycle of their music, I cannot get completely on board as a fan. There is something that feels familiar and ever so slightly repulsive to me. It is a feeling I am having a hard time putting my finger on. There is a voice in the back of my head urging them to go to the next step and play something truly heavy, not merely on the borders, but then that would cost a little of the melodic side, which seems to be a big part of their sound.

Have you ever listened to a band that no matter how much you wanted to dislike them, you couldn't? That there was some decent talent behind their music, and the execution was good enough to, however temporarily, hold your attention and tease you into liking them? Four Letter Lie is one of those bands. They play a style of music that is not in my wheelhouse, yet when it is playing it is endearing.

Whatever the case my be, Four Letter Lie is here, and are likely here to stay once this album hits the shelves. So, when you do check them out, pay attention to the songs: "It's Coming This Way," the title track "What Terrible Thing to Say," "I Don't Speak to Dead Men," and "Charlatan" for a mix of heavy and melody.

Bottomline. No, they have not won me over as a fan, but they surely have a place in the musical landscape. This is a style that brings in a couple of different crowds and is crafted by songwriters who have a focus on what they want to make. They are going for it and making it happen. So, if you like this style, and you know who you are, make sure to give this a spin.

Mildly Recommended.


Anonymous said...

these guys are awful and make the mn music scene look bad as a result. nothing worth ever listening to.

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