Gym Class Heroes - As Cruel As School Children

This flirty full-length is out like an ordinary school day. Helping this slithery ‘Snakes On A Plane’ accompanying, alternative and hip-hop rooted quartet adopt a youthful approach to life.  In the first and second periods ‘The Queen And I’ and ‘Shoot Down The Stars’, old skool beats and lounge stroking licks are used to draw out their simplistic life views. In the case of the latter offering, some freshness is given to a “be all you can be” message that modern kids probably hear more times than “you’re grounded”.  Travis McCoy flits his soul-stroking projection between a haughty hip-hop/rap stance and a soaring, soul-soothing one.  For the Myspace generation lament of ‘New Friend Request’, he manages to find a groove right in the middle of these two approaches and uses witty observations to draw out the foibles of modern, youthful life;

“Let’s face it; it’s a sad situation when we have to resort to keyboards as a means of making relations.”

Atmospheric interludes bring out reality in this fifteen track trawl though urbane life. Situations like the bar chat up scenario are depicted with honest y and a certain beleaguered drawl, ‘Sloppy Love Jingle Part 1’.    A young Barry White is re-enacted with rustic panache through ‘Viva La White Girl’, as Travis and co truly experiment with their range. Their publicity cause has been helped considerably by their association with Patrick ‘Stumpy’ Stump, who loaned his yearning cry to the brooding previous single, ‘Cupid’s Chokehold’. Nifty sampling and re-jigging of classic tunes give familiarity and a friendly vibe to the project.  The rugged jungle and drum N’ bass vibe that mingles in the gnarl of Eminem against a backdrop of distorted, punchy choral backing for ‘Biter’s Block’, brings the ghetto to your earpiece and the tour guides do seem to speak from a base of familiarity.

Gym Class Heroes have managed to pierce the balloon of many genres to make them a durable live act. Their campaign to push away pompous musical boundaries has started well.

David Adair

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