The Take Off and Landing of Everything
Band of Skulls
It seems like everything original and innovative has already happened with pop-punk. There’s no way around it. It’s had a hell of a run, but it’s starting to wind down. In the later days of a fading genre bands start to copy the bigger bands of the genre and even if they’ve been making music for awhile they’ll copy themselves a little bit. That’s the case with Sum 41’s new album “Underclass Hero.” I’ve always been a fan of the band. They’ve always been slightly original but they’ve had no quirks about being what they are; a pop punk band. I’ve always resented the quotes about them being Blink Jr. or any of that other stuff, because I’ve never really heard it on any album… until now. Half of this album is decent and the other half feels like a mix of Green Day and Blink. You can actually link album influences to this without any problem and that’s a problem. “Dear Father” feels way too much like Blink 182’s “Stay Together for the Kids.” “Pull the Curtain” feels like a lot of other tracks off of Blink’s “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket” including “Anthem Part Two.” “Best of Me” meanwhile, feels like some of Blink’s older stuff off of their self-titled album. The Green Day knock offs are “Ma Poubelle” which feels like something that would be on “Nimrod” or “Warning.” And “King of Contradiction” which could pass for something on “Dookie” or “Insomniac.” This album’s not a waste… it kicks of impressively with the single “Underclass Hero” a track that grows on you the more you listen to it, and it’s good the first time. “Walking Disaster” knocks things out of the park for Sum- it’s some of their best work that would fit in perfectly with the “Chuck” and “Does This Look Infected” sets. The other tracks that you should definitely check out… “The Jester”, “Speak of the Devil”, and “Confusion and Frustration in Modern Times.” And the other thing to note with this- even though some of the songs borrow things from other songs Sum-41 front man Deryck Whibley self produced this album and did an amazing job of it. This isn’t Sum 41’s best work but it’s not a total waste. There are some songs that are enjoyable and likable- just like they were when the band wasn’t more serious. I’ll chalk this one up to the transitional phase- going from a four piece to a trio and whatever else Dereyck and the rest of Sum have been up to these days. While this isn’t a great album, it’s still a good one. And even though there are a lot of things borrowed here, hopefully they’re borrowed and evolved upon instead of just borrowed. When the band tries to be original and do things different, that’s when they’re at their best. Unfortunately Sum 41 rarely tried to do anything different on Underclass Hero.