Underclass Hero

Studio Album by released in 2007

Underclass Hero review

Cliches or unique stylistic?

Despite that fact that Sum 41 always associated with Blink 182 (not only in music but as far as you can see in the band’s name either) the word “identical” definitely cannot be used to compare these bands. Even in the very beginning of Sum 41’s career when they were shamelessly borrowing ideas of their elder punk brothers, the band’s sound was a little bit tougher and even more aggressive. And Sum 41 paid the most intimate attention to this very side of their music developing and perfecting it with every new record. Sum 41 always loved true metal and they actually became the only mainstream band, which managed to create powerful hybrid of pop punk and this aggressive genre. Their resent album Chuck looked quite consistent and proper as it served as a mark of the band’s individuality and pointed at further growth in this direction. And everything would happen just like it was supposed to happen if only the band’s guitarist and simultaneously the main Sum 41’s headbanger Dave Baksh wouldn’t quit the lineup. He wasn’t expelled, it happened according to his desire to run his own project. And this just couldn’t but influence new Sum 41’s album Underclass Hero.

Back to the past

Frankly speaking, it seems like Sum 41 has turned into a solo project of the band’s vocalist Deryck Whibley. He penned the songs, took a position of the album’s producer and finally a black and white cover of a new disk depicts only one person and you know who it is. In short, the point is that Baksh still used to play a big role within the band; well, at least Sum 41 managed to stand as a band of four members during four previous albums. As a result, record turned out to be solid but pretty generic. From a musical viewpoint the album doesn’t bring nothing new, quite on the contrary it suggests to take a journey back to the past. Stylistically Underclass Hero reminds All Killer No Filler, characteristic heavy metal riffs are still present but they can be met really seldom, the main emphasis was laid on good old mainstream hooks. In addition Sum 41 strive to create an image of a serious band and try to expand a set of themes in their lyrics. Thus along with purely teenager burning topics they stretch their hands upon politics and deeply personal feelings. In a word, Deryck decided to please a wide circle of listeners and it is worth admitting that in a way he managed to achieve this task.

Powerful, strong and generic

The album starts with a couple of powerful pop punk songs performed in the best traditions of the genre: fast, cheerful, energetic and tuneful. Both of the songs are singles and they cope with their tasks excellently, each of them is a ready-made soundtrack for American pie. Later on the events develop in a pretty predictable way, there are some unexpected moments but they are few in number. For example The Jester persistently remind you My Chemical Romance and King Of Contradictions is one of those songs that have something from a true punk rock spirit. Confusion And Frustration In Modern Times is a very nice track too. But even these, most “unconventional” songs carry a big share of mainstream cliches. Underclass Hero as an album sounds very powerful, strong and qualitative. Everyone who is in love with pop punk a la Blink 182 will be simply happy to have it. There is a whole bunch of songs of exactly this character. Listen to Dear Father, Walking Disaster or March Of The Dogs – these songs just couldn’t be better. But if you expected that Sum 41 would continue developing the idea of Chuck than most likely you’ll hardly find something special here. But who knows, in reality this album sounds good indeed, it is just a step in little bit wrong direction. Trend, brand and mainstream have won a victory again.