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Four Stroke Baron: Classics

Four Stroke Baron are certainly interesting. This songwriting duo play what I vaguely describe as heavy, thumpy riff based rock/metal with all sorts of bizarre keyboard and synth heavy beeps and boops. Now, take that framework and imagine the singer from Tears for Fears singing over it while the devil possesses him and you have a pretty good idea of what to expect here. On this release, (somewhat presumptuously titled) Classics, FSB deliver some wacky, over the top songwriting with an absurd level of polish and sheen that is rarely seen these days.

Sonically, this is a gorgeous album. Mixed by the one and only Devin Townshend, Classics (and no, this is not a best of, it's a brand new LP) is absurdly lush and features the wall of sound that the Canadian savant has been known for for decades now. The guitars are thick and omnipresent, with thick layers of heft that batter and delight you. Combined with the rich and punchy drums, there's a certain percussive heft to the whole album that will get you bouncing to some degree. The vocals are, as stated before, sound remarkably like the golden throated hit makers in Tears for Fears. At least most of the time. There's plenty of grunting, falsetto wailing, spoken word shenanigans, and everything in between on this record. It's all over the place and while most of the melodies are pleasing, they don't stick around very long and are quickly replaced by the next crazy idea that FSB decides to send your way.

So, the album sounds amazing and these guys are clearly not lacking in ideas to smack you over the head with. What's the downside? Well, none of this is particularly memorable. It's largely a tidal wave of sonic bliss that slams into you and leaves you reeling but once you recover from the initial force of the whole experience you are left wondering what the hell just happened. The riffs change on a dime with very little time to reflect on them individually before you are hastily shoved in another direction by the next bizarre soundscape from hell. The vocals, while largely very melodic, don't exactly have much in the way of hooks, which seems an odd choice for an act aping a bit of that 80's Top of the Pops vocal delivery. It's an odd experience all around.

While Classics is impeccably played (and even more impeccably produced and mixed), there's not a whole lot of "classic" material to be had here to these ears. I know there are certainly fans of bizarre and wacky "kitchen sink" songwriting, but this kind of stuff always rings hollow to me. If you are drawn to the more eclectic (I.E. annoying) sounds of bands like Faith No More or even Devin Townshend's weirder moments, you may want to give this a listen. I'll just hang back and spend a few moments gawking at all the pretty lights and sounds found here and then be on my way.

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Added: February 9th 2022
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 933
Language: english

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