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Sum 41 - Chuck


Review: Jack Foley

FORMER skate-punk upstarts, Sum 41, continue their drift towards more mature, heavier material with the release of their latest long-player, Chuck - a hit-and-miss affair that contains fleeting moments of brilliance.

The most instantly striking thing about the album is the fact that the infectious energy of hits such as Fat Lip and In Too Deep is missing, replaced instead by a grittier and more angry direction, as exemplified by the recent single, We're All To Blame.

Rather like many of the songs on their last album, Does This Look Infected?, the track is packed full of lyrics such as 'how can we still succeed taking what we don't need/ telling lies as alibis, selling the hate that we breed super-size/ our tragedies (you can't define me or justify greed) brought in the land of the free'.

And, as such, Chuck provokes comparisons with the likes of Green Day's American Idiot long-player, as well as more obvious sources of inspiration, such as the nu-metal of Linkin Park, the heavy metal of Metallica, and the punk revival that seems to be sweeping all before it at the moment.

Yet, as grown-up as some of the sentiments are, there remains the sneaking suspicion that this is a band that is at its happiest thrashing about the place, as the power guitars do tend to swamp proceedings.

And therein lies its achilles heel. Chuck is undoubtedly their heaviest effort to date, yet it contains some melodic moments to savour.

Some tracks, such as We're All To Blame and Angels With Dirty Faces, attempt to balance the two, and end up sounding clumsy.

But in the Oasis-inspired anthem, Some Say, which contains an uncanny vocal resemblance to Liam Gallagher at certain points, the band seems to have properly matured.

It is during such moments that the album prompts favourable comparisons with the new Green Day effort, especially tracks such as Wake Me Up When September Ends - albeit mixing the acoustic breakdowns with the electric guitars more aggressively.

Likewise, Slipping Away, an angst-ridden, acoustic ballad of quietly affecting raw power, which had me yearning for more of the same.

Had there been more of this sort of diversity to break up the metal anthems, then Chuck might be a little more accessible.

As it stands, the album serves as an infuriating blend of power and pain that, while marking a progression of sorts, still hasn't come far enough.

It remains to be seen which of the two musical paths Sum 41 will eventually choose to take.

 

 

Track listing:
1. Intro
2. No Reason
3. We're All To Blame
4. Angels With Dirty faces
5. Some Say
6. The Bitter End
7. Open Your Eyes
8. Slipping Away
9. I'm Not The One
10. Welcome To Hell
11. Pieces
12. There's No Solution
13. 88
14. Secret Enhanced Section
15. The Making of "We're All To Blame" Video (Uk Exclusive)

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