Sum 41 search for voice on ..Infected

Hallie Thomas

Hallie Thomas

In 2000, Papa Roach’s Infest was released, catering to the angst of abused and forgotten kids in America. Now, after suffering through two years of bands and albums that have played to the lost demographic, Sum 41 has finally released an album that successfully dilutes teen-angst from bile to Kool-Aid. Olsen Twins, you now have a soundtrack for a bad hair day, and it’s called Does This Look Infected?

This album howls, raps, and complains: three things that have been essential in the magic formula of the TRL revision of punk. At first, it appears that Sum 41 is a typical band made up of post-pubescent boys writing and performing contrived songs about not having anything to whine about and being pissed off about it. But something is awakened in the brain as one listens to the tracks. They have potential–and they know it; they just haven’t found their niche. This is what takes Infected from mediocre to annoying. There are moments you want to enjoy it, but the rest keeps you from seriously considering it.

The twelve songs play like a modern rock “Name That Tune.” These boys are highly influenced by many bands. But even though imitation is a form of flattery, forgery is still a crime and sometimes the references and name-checks are laughably obvious. Almost every song comes across as a mutant hybrid of the sounds of Blink 182, Beastie Boys, Linkin Park, P.O.D., and (*gasp*) Weezer. Somebody should revoke their membership in Columbia House before they rip-off all twelve of their selections.

There are approximately two standout songs on the album. The third track, “My Direction,” is a throwback to School House Rock. In fact, this song is so much like a childhood Saturday morning that it even comes equipped with a pseudo-subliminal public service announcement about teen suicide rates in North America. It’s cheeky fun that stands out more as a single than the current radio release “Still Waiting.” The other gleam of hope is less than forty seconds long, but it contains more punk attitude than the thirty-one minutes around it. “A.N.I.C.” allows Sum 41 to swear, offend, and contemplate their own relevance; all of which they should do more often.

2.5 Stars

#1.887599:3675821588.jpg:sum41.jpg:Sum 41 didn?t actually drink any of that beer. They?re not old enough yet, silly!:Courtesy photo