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Underclass Hero is a perfectly workable North American punk rock album. It’s got melodic suss and a snotty attitude to its credit, but not much else.
Phil Udell, 01 Aug 2007
Having built up their own thing quite nicely in Canada, Sum 41 found themselves signed in the rush to find the next Blink 182 or Green Day. The problem was that, after a while, no-one really wanted the next Blink 182 or Green Day (not even either of the two bands themselves) – and so Sum 41, a punk band with no credibility amongst the underground and little mainstream clout, were stranded in a kind of no man’s land.
They’ve responded admirably by toughening up their sound and outlook and soldiering on. The world, however, has remained largely unmoved and their latest outing is unlikely to change that. Underclass Hero is a perfectly workable North American punk rock album. It’s got melodic suss and a snotty attitude to its credit, but not much else. American Idiot casts a long shadow over the whole album, especially the band’s attempts at serious political comment and musical development. That perhaps has always been Sum 41’s problem – that they’ve had the appearance of being one step behind the competition throughout their career.
To step out of the shadows, they’ll need to come up with something genuinely special. Sadly Underclass Hero isn’t good enough to do the job.