Sum 41 – Underclass Hero

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

Sum 41

Underclass Hero - Aquarius Records

Ahh Sum 41? What is there left to say about you? You broke out with All Killer No Filler and were herrold as Blink182 and Green Day‘s little brother trying effortlessly to emulate your older siblings. You grew up, progressed, played faster and had more nassally vocals as you formed a sound of your own but all the while kept those influences on the front of your sleeve. No, one guitarist lighter, the band is back with their fifth full lengthn album – and while it is slightly different than its predecessors, Underclass Hero still sounds oddly familiar.

Take the opening track, title track and first single, Underclass Hero, for instance. The song is catchy, energetic and fun; just a great pop-punk song. But at the same time, it’s oddly familiar because the entire song is built on the same riff that threw Sum 41 into the mainstream six years ago with Fat Lip. Other songs fall into that same category: great pop-punk songs but with something too familiar about them at times.King Of Contradiction – a fast paced song with quick dream beat and heavily distroted vocals – is a mix between Sum 41‘s Does This Look Infected? and Green Day‘s Nimrod albums. With Me‘s vocal delivery reminds you of Ryan Key on Only One from Yellowcard‘s Ocean Avenue. Confusion And Frustration In Modern Times would fit nicely after Anthem Part II on Blink182‘s Take Off Your Pants & Jacket while Best Of Me sees the band trying to slow it down like Green Day did on American Idiot (and that’s not even touching on the political commentary the band is shouting during most songs).

But while those influences (or cheap knock offs as some would call) are heavily scattered throughout the album, the album still feels like a Sum 41 record. The songs are distcint, Whibley’s vocals are strong and nasally and Stevo’s druming is faster and heavier than a lot of the stuff he’s done in the past. While nothing incredibly originaly, the songs are fast, fast and catchy – and that’s exactly what pop-punk should be. So those little nods to their influences never really injure the album, what does it is the length of the songs and speed of them. While most songs are quite fast, there are a few that really grind the record to a halt.Walking Disaster, while the best song on the record, is smushed between a slow intro and outro that really are necessary and just makes the song feel a little long at over five minutes in lengthn. Pull The Curtains starts off heavily buy ends on a sour note as they slow it down so much to the point that every time I hear it I think it’s a new song trying to emulate Pieces. If they kept it quicker and shorter, likeMarch Of The Dogs, The Jester, Underclass Hero, and Confusion, then the album would be that much better. Oh, and knock of the immensely anoying, horrible sung french song Ma Poubelle and I’d be even happier.

Despite my slight criticism of the record, I really do like it. A few bumps and stumbles – and a step back in comparison to CHUCK – Underclass Hero is still a strong mainstream pop-punk album and one of the more memorable releases of the year.