Sum 41 – Does This Look Infected?

You really can’t blame someone for exposing their true selves once their façade has grabbed your attention. It is however, difficult to distinguish which face is a fabricated front and which is genuine. We’ll inspect the work of Sum 41 as an example of this diatribe. Somewhat slipping into the mainstream backdoor with their Half Hour of Power (which this reviewer picked up for a mere $5 at a show they weren’t even billed on), they showcased their love for heavy metal riffs, pop punk melody and snotty attitude but garnered little attention even though the label they were ‘on’ (Bosstones’ front man Dicky Barrett’s label Big Rig), was backed by commercial giants Island. Perhaps, they were merely testing the waters – just to see whether or not they would sink or swim.

Apparently completing the standardized major label sink/swim test, Island gave them the green light and with the heavy push of their sophomore release All Killer, No Filler, Sum 41 exploded onto the mainstream with enough gusto to make the likes of Green Day and the Offspring blush. They’ve now moved on to the next record on their contract, the “darker, heavier, return to roots” record that most bands feel is a necessary stop in a commercially successful career.

Well kick this reviewer in the pants and call him Sally. Upon further inspection, the slightly heavier, louder rock/punk sounding Does This Look Infected? isn’t bad at all. The first single, “Still Waiting”, while the most enjoyable track, is what this album’s flavor resembles the most. Perhaps the Misfits-like cover is a signal to those currently listening that Sum 41’s previous pop filled, ultra catchy effort was merely done to catch your attention. There are still melodies and harmonies here, notably in the opening track “Hell Song” and “My Direction” and thankfully they manage to keep their awful rapping to a minimum. Their more radio friendly tunes sound slightly harder, the metal is still present and the album as a whole comes off more passable than annoying. This reviewer will compare this to Green Day’s transition from Dookie to Insomniac. In fact, this reviewer feels that Island called up Reprise and asked, “Hey, we need that ‘Dookie to Insomniac’ formula you’ve got”.

(Island Records)

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