Ah, spring—the harbinger of happy summer days—is finally upon us. No longer do you wake to dark, cold mornings or cars covered in snow. Rather, sunlight shines in through your window, and birds chip merry songs to alleviate you of slumber. You no longer drive to school and back bundled in thick, oppressive layers of wool with the heater on max. Rather, the windows are down and the wind whips your face, as soon, the only place you’ll be driving is the skatepark with your friends, or across the country with your band mates. The last piece? The soundtrack to summer, and perhaps the surest sign that we’re on the way to warmer days—good ol’ pop punk. Leave it to Italian stallions 4th ‘N Goal, with their breakout EP Turn On the Light to whisk away the winter blues. Turn On the Light illuminates the listener’s mind with catchy—somewhat corny—pop punk at its most innocent and engaging. So roll down the windows, crank up the stereo and grab a pizza as 4th ‘N Goal let summer in the only way they know how.
Everything about Turn On the Light screams cheesy, pepperoni-covered pop-punk at its most fun-loving. 4th ‘N Goal are in it for fun, and fun is exactly what they deliver. The sextet soar with punchy, quick drums that are filled with speedy, poppy punk patterns as well as bludgeoning easy-core “breakdowns” that are bound to get heads bopping and feet tapping in seconds. “Red Line Extreme” is a great example, with quick, rolling kick drums covered with a bouncy layer of bass guitar and chirps from an incessant, chirping China cymbal that could even get deathcore kids to drop a spin kick or two. However, a great majority of the EP spends its time with frantic, fleeting riffs and poppy percussion that even pervades the group’s cover of Bring Me the Horizon’s “Drown.” “Red Line Extreme” starts with rushing chords and pushy drumming that almost feels like a Less Than Jake track, while “Pickles” is every pit the punchy, packed-with-can-do-attitude anthem the listener would expect from the name. Tangled, tediously flicked chords occasionally unweave themselves into mature, bouncy riffs—such as “Out of Tortillas”—to give the listener a more straightforward example of the band’s musical prowess, adding flair to the EP that even music snobs will find appeal in.
4th ‘N Goal paint a convincing musical canvas that is both fun and fulfilling—but how do the vocals stack up? Turn On the Light is successful in this field as well—albeit barely. I’m the last one to discriminate based upon a language barrier, but there are times where these Milanese musicians stumble over vocal patterns and pronunciations leaving the listener confused—and more importantly, unable to sing along. However, tracks like “Drown” and “Ken Burns” see none of these stumbles, serving as excellent examples of 4th ‘N Goal doing everything right and creating convincing displays of pop-punk prowess. “Pickles,” and a great majority of “Red Line Extreme” also manage to avoid this for the most part: sticking with easy-core essentials such as friends, leaving “this town,” and hints of heartbreak. “Out of Tortillas,” however, is a little bit of a trainwreck; as garbled lyrics and overzealous overlapping vocalists leave much of the song unintelligible without a lyric sheet and some quick eyes. However, even when 4th ‘N Goal leave the listener’s clueless, their singing is still pleasant to the ear and does a great service to the band’s bouncy, fun-loving instrumentation—so even if the listener can’t properly sing along, they’ll definitely be humming.
At the end of the day, Turn On the Light is about fun, and even guessing at the lyrics doesn’t stop the listener from having that. 4th ‘N Goal have crafted a series of surefire pop-punk anthems out of little more than dust and some old-fashioned Italian know-how (as well as an intelligent and incredible Bring Me the Horizon cover). The EP’s cover art reads “pop-punk confirmed,” and that they are—if the pizza and pre-school sense of humor didn’t give that away already. Catchy, quick and at times creative, Turn On the Light does just that, brightening up the listener’s morning commute, late night drive or best-friend-hangout—as it’s just as summery as sunsets and watermelon.
For Fans Of: Chunk! No Captain Chunk!, Handguns, Neck Deep, Less Than Jake
By Connor Welsh for New-Transcendence
Turn On The Light | Released April 25th, 2015 on Sliptrick Records
01. Pickles | 02 Red Line Extreme | 03 Turn On The Lights, Dude! | 04 Out Of Tortillas | 05 Drown (Bring Me The Horizon Cover) | 06 Ken Burns | 07 Melancholy | 08 Dead Poets | 09 The Longest Bridge | 10 Fingers Crossed