Sum 41 - Does This Look Infected?

Watching Sum 41 grow up was always going to be a strange experience - like realizing that your younger brother no longer swaps football cards in the playground and is more likely to planning where to smoke their next spliff or which field they'll be throwing up 20/20 that friday night. With Sum 41 it was always different because they were actually the Peter Pan of Rock Music until Bowling For Soup came along and actually showed them up for the ever youthful uncles they actually are. At this moment is was the signal for them to grow up just a touch progress from the primary school of no knocks to the High School of slightly harder knocks which will undoubtedly see them go through to the University of Life before disappearing quick smart.

"Does This Look Infected?" is halfway between a concept album and a musical spoof which Weird Al Yankovic would be proud of. If this is serious then Sum 41 need help, but as I suspect this is "Not Just Another Rock Album" style spoof where all the clichés are rolled out from the mock horror titles such as "The Hell Song" and "Billy Spleen" through to the faux self loathing lyrics straight out of the Robbie Williams / Nu Metal school of lyric writing and then onto the lowest common denominator riff which pilfer from everyone from AC/DC through to Blink 182. This is an album which sees "the Sums" on a teenage irony trip. The very fact that this is one big joke makes the lyrics of "Cause i'm all messed up. Making perfect nonsense. Drowning in my doubt" on the suitably titled "All Messed Up" and "All I know is i've heard this all before. Reality's a bore" on "Thanks For Nothing" even more enjoyable and you just can't help laughing along in the same way you would do Kevin and Perry or any other dumb ass program.

The big question is are Sum 41 really just playing the dumb card, so that when they release their triple album political opus and announce in fact that they all have degrees in politics it's makes us sit back and question everything all the more. Well, maybe that's wishing for a little too much, but you can bet your bottom dollar these guys know exactly what they're doing with each and every carefully calculated manoeuvre.

Alex McCann

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