Four Letter Lie - What a Terrible Thing to Say (Cover Artwork)

Four Letter Lie

What a Terrible Thing to Say (2008)


I'm sure by now you've seen the Victory logo on the right and, well, I'm about to drop the dreaded "sing/scream" moniker, so you might want to stop reading right here if those two factors are enough to raise your reservations and/or sneers. Yes, this is another Victory band employing the grunted verse / whined chorus formula, and yes, the music often relies on chugging hardcore clichés, soaring melodic pomposity and echoing guitar lines. It's a polarizing sound that will test the patience of listeners who have already written this genre off, while fans of the contemporary sing/scream sound (post-hardcore pop?) will now have one more band name to add to the music section of their MySpace page.

Reviews of Four Letter Lie's debut often referenced Underoath and that comparison is still apt on What a Terrible Thing to Say. The vocal trade-offs, pit-taunting breakdowns and slight forays into atmospherics are all here, but whereas Underoath can be catchy and, dare I say it, even tight in their song craft, Four Letter Lie never seem to push things far enough. The title track opens with a great riff -- even if it sounds like something from New Found Glory -- but then the song suddenly detours into generic shouting, an unnecessary guitar break and another tiresome melodic section. Four Letter Lie's songwriting process seems to be the equivalent of writing an essay and never even spell-checking it. First thoughts are poured forth and never edited, while many transitions are awkward and many ideas underdeveloped.

The voices of singer Kevin Skaff and screamer Brian Nagan also hurt the end product here. Skaff only seems capable of a pleading whine that can't manage to go un-layered or an attempt at some Daryl Palumbo sass that comes off weak and polished like something from the Audition. Meanwhile, Nagan's voice can be described as either a pony or a horse. That is, he's a one-trick pony kicking a dead horse. Yep, you've heard screamers like this before.

I could go on citing the rehashed lyrics, slick production and an uncreative rhythm section as other valid detractors here, but that might just be excessive. Four Letter Lie are simply late to a game where they were probably only going to sit on the bench anyway. What a Terrible Thing to Say is merely a poor genre exercise in a genre already full of such of sub-par products.