Life Imitating Life
The dance/pop-punk scene has come alive with its third legitimate band! Cobra Starship originated the sub-genre, Powerspace gave it its best song with "Right On, Right Now" and now Forever the Sickest Kids has made the genre's best album with "Underdog Alma Mater." What makes the album special isn't the synths, it's not that the band sounds original- it's the amount of quality hooks that Forever the Sickest Kids has put into song after song on this album. "Whoa Oh! (Me vs. Everyone)" is a 4 minute hook fest with some of the best two-part harmonies I've heard in pop punk in a long time. "Hey Brittany" incorporates the most fluidity of any song on the album and has an infectious chorus. The best hook on the album sits with "The Way She Moves." It's got kind of that LFO/Bad Ronald/Busted feel from the early part of this decade that made those bands successful. The synth use establishes that reference and the exceptional chorus pushes it over the top. The big difference between Forever the Sickest Kids and the aforementioned bands is that this isn't totally demoed for 12 year old girls... it's legitimate enough to be listened to by all. It's true that some of the lyrical content isn't universal to all- fear of growing up, mom issues, break up songs, etc.- but that's part of the fun with this band. It's serious enough to be taken seriously but it's not over the top in meaning; something a dance punk album can't be. Special mention should be made for Jonathan Cook; dude's got some serious skill with vocals- he sounds like Gabe Saporta did in his Midtown days- when he was of course- better. Forever the Sickest Kids' "Underdog Alma Mater" isn't the break through debut album of the year, but it will definitely do for fans of quality pop-punk in 2008; something that's actually missing.