Count To Four - Between Two Cities (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Count To Four

Between Two Cities (2013)


It takes balls to cover the Pokemon theme song and actually pull it off. Count To Four did just that on their 2011 Acoustic EP which reminded me of the potential I heard off 2010's Know Where You Come From. It's nice to see this South Jersey/Philly quartet refine their old stuff and then churn out Between Two Cities, which sees them live up to some of their promise. The record's a bit polarized though which detracted a bit.

Delivering on your first full-length in the pop-punk genre may well be a tall order these days and Count To Four falls into the typical trap of life's tension with stories of angst. "I Hope Not" comes off as adolescent but musically, it's so sound. In a nutshell, they start off sounding like All Time Low with Yellowcard thrown in, but then there's a big shake in the dynamic that evolves their tone pleasantly. The sharp guitars of Jay Miller and vocalist Mike Hayden are blended perfectly. They capture the succinct essence of pop-punk but pivoted by the drums of the pacey Pete Adams, there's much more grit and edge than the average outfit in the genre.

"Plastic Dinosaurs" is an oldie that returns from their arsenal and after noticing the trend of Masked Intruder advocates here, I think there's a potential niche at Punknews for Count To Four that will appreciate what they're doing. They're not game-changers but they've got flair, discipline and charisma. It's nothing too flashy but then again, the California-themed "Get To It" tosses enough flamboyance the listener's way. This anchors the album well but then sees the record flow into that all-too-chartered territory of generic, melodic pop-punk. It's still catchy but not as complex as the first half of the record. It sadly meanders off a bit as forgettable but still worth the listen.

It's interesting to see where they take it from here. They ring a bit like Senses Fail in the latter half of the record but fail to mix it up enough, causing them to lose some momentum. They show formidable old-school potential, especially with Hayden's impressive vocals but that's what it boils down to -- a tale of two halves, with the second, sadly lacking. Overall, a good record, but you sense a few wasted opportunities in the cracks.