Rise up, pop-punk fans, and salute Sum 41: With Blink-182 broken up and Good Charlotte going for a rock vibe, the boys from Ontario stand a chance at reinvigorating the entire stalled subgenre. Not just because the competition has thinned, but because Underclass Hero
is just that great. Though nobody would accuse lead singer Deryck Whibley of sounding like Green Day's Billy Joe Armstrong, he bites into the politically charged lyrics that course through this 14-track set as hard: "March of the Dogs," "The Jester," and "Confusion and Frustration in Modern Times" are served up with a spasmodic sneer (and, in the case of the latter, a lyric that will resonate with legions of the exasperated: "Confusion's all I see/Frustration surrounds me/Solution's bid farewell/Sedation? What the hell"), and the title track comes bounding out of stereo speakers with both outrage and lit-up energy. On the lighter side, the ballad "With Me" is sweet and simple enough to recall Plain White Ts, and "Ma Poubelle," a French ditty, strikes a weird Beatle-y chord before rapidly dissolving. Does Sum 41 add up to the hottest pop-punk band going, then? For sure. Do the math. --Tammy La Gorce
UK pressing of the Canadian punksters 2007 album features one bonus audio track: 'No Apologies'. Underclass Hero marks a step in a bold new direction for the group, whose three full length album's, 2001's All Killer, No Filler, 2002's, Does this Look Infected and 2004 Chuck have sold over 7 million units worldwide. 'You Can't help buy grow a little', says Whibley about the band's musical and lyrical maturity. 'We now see the artistic side of music. We wanted to make this the most artistic punk-rock record we could. We approach music differently now. Things now have a purpose. We care about the craft of it now.' The is Sum 41, better than ever...and this time no regrets. Universal. 2007.