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Sum41
Sum 41 have doubtlessly managed to fit their original enraging rock power in their music, maybe more, but the CHUCK album (in a nutshell), doesn’t necessarily carry that rude attitude, lyrically. For people who’re not getting the maths, Sum 41’s music can be described as hard hitting insane Tabasco sauce being poured through punk rock riffs on riotous teenaged vocals. Eh? Did you think of The Offspring? Or System Of A Down? Yes, Sum 41 fall under the same genre: Punk. The music that drives today’s youth!

And now here’s Chuck: the latest album, which was released in late ’04. Before this album’s pieces were getting together, the SUM 41 gang was filming a documentary for charity in Congo. You know the situation in Congo, right? It’s H–O-S-T-I-L-E! And our boys took no time to find that out. Before long, they found themselves dangerously close to gunfire and exploding rocket-propelled grenades. With the help of a UN aid worker, the band lived on but obviously the memories didn’t quite escape. Maybe that’s why, to describe the thoughts behind this album, we might have to use the ‘M’ word - Mellow.
But other than the above mellow shit, the band hasn’t changed at all. Like their previous records, this album goes only a bit more than that 30-minute time line. And like the previous albums, you better watch out for those Dave Baksh riffs.

When Sum 41 approached their Manager/Producer Greig Nori again, the band had a specific sound in their mind. And they’ve achieved it in their heaviest, most melodious album to date: Chuck. The Pieces song might ring the Hoobastank bling in your ears. While There’s No Solution gives off a Linkin Park kick. As mentioned earlier, the band has revealed a side that wasn’t seen by the fans before. And they’ve underlined this change through songs like Some Say: Find out the difference somehow, It's too late to even have faith, Don't think things will ever change, You must be dreaming. But what the Chuck! Exactly what we thought.
But if you jump again into the previous paragraphs, you might read about this sweet UN chap who saved Sum 41 from near death. Yeah, that was Chuck Pelletier, an ex-soldier. While the band was shuddering due to gunfire sounds and rockets exploding almost on their hotel in Congo, Chuck played the hero of the day. The Congo tour was apparently quite a deadly adventure for the band. The boys were given bullet proof jackets and were asked to cover the windows of their non-bullet-proof bus en route to the airport, to prevent any stray bullets from finding their way into the vehicle. Any grateful band might’ve done the same as Sum 41 did: dedicate an album. As they say in their liners, “Without him, we’d be dead. Chuck Rules!” Half Hour Of Power and other senseless stuff The last album released by Sum 41 before Chuck, was way back in 2002 called Does This Look Infected?. And no, if you thought that the band spared some quiet time for themselves and the world, you were wrong. It took some 200 live shows, a performance on Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brian and Mad TV for them to stay satisfied in this period. The band also made their acting debut as guest stars on a show called King Of The Hill, and last but not the least, Iggy Pop featured them on his album release called Skull Ring. Now, you should expect all that, certainly after an album as hard edged as Does This Look Infected? which featured songs like All Messed Up, Thanks For Nothing and The Hell Song. Again, since the album goes slightly over the half-hour mark, it a fun trip to take with catchy hooks and addictive choruses. The album had followed All Killer No Filler which was released in ’01.

Sum 41 had hired Jerry Finn to produce the AKNF album. Jerry who? Well, Jerry Finn produced those razor sharp sounds for Sum 41 as he had done for Green Day and Blink 182. The sound was carried well across the radio and the TV channels. With the AKNF album, everyone realized that Sum 41 wasn’t just another band sunbathing in the puddle of punk-pop rage. The song writing here was a bit diverse than their debut album. Everyone used to watch out for songs like Fat Lip, In Too Deep and Nothing On My Back. And no one escaped the melodic punk vocals. So, Sum 41 was branded as young, mischievous, sarcastic and more than everything, warped. I mean only a warped band can come up with the title of the first song of their first album as Grab The Devil By The Horns And F*** Him In The A**, right? Aptly titled as Half Hour Of Power (for the half hour running time, of course), Sum 41’s debut album was released in 2000 and although it didn’t take the band to the heights, it made a mark for the boys.


You can read the rest of our feature on Sum41 in the January 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.
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Gary Lawyer
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