Sunday, May 1, 2011
SUM 41: SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER (THE GREY PARADE)
Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley’s barely recognisable from his early Adidas Superstar, Iron Maiden, hip-hop-fuelled house party days. That shy, spiky blonde young Canadian with a sense of humour's grown into a dark, raven-haired young prima donna (albeit with a string of legitimate physical and emotional problems). And even though he’s not alone on the album cover, this time, he’s all over Screaming Bloody Murder – “production, mixing, piano, keyboards, lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitars”.
But the biggest indication of Whibley’s new-found self-belief is the fact that Tom “Brown Tom” Thacker‘s been an “official” band member since 2009, yet Whibley still recorded all the guitars himself. Even though Thacker’s credited as a co-writer on first single “Screaming Bloody Murder” – which explains the lack of guitar dynamism (and solos).
Also, legendary British producer Gil Norton (Pixies, Foo Fighters, The Distillers) was hired and fired in less than a week in January 2010, replaced by Whibley himself. No wonder Brownsound bailed. Bassist Cone and drummer Stevo 32, on the other hand, seem like neutered animals, obediently following their master around - they can't like what they've become?
As far as the music goes, from the "Sum 41 presents" and "starring" credits, to the general theme and layout, Whibley’s set Screaming Bloody Murder up A LOT like My Chemical Romance’s 2006 album The Black Parade, but he doesn’t quite pull it off. The songs are instantly forgettable, the lyrics are predictable and unconvincing and Sum 41 sound like a grave-robbing band without an identity. Which is strange when you consider Whibley's had a rough time lately - divorce, pneumonia and hospitalised, after an attack in Japan by three "unknown males" (that sucks dude).
The only short burst on Screaming Bloody Murder that comes close to representing the “Sum 41 sound”, the one they made their own, is the mid-section of title track “Screaming Bloody Murder” (after Whibley’s Grey Parade piano intro). And that’s mainly thanks to drummer Stevo 32’s once-off burst of inspiration. The rest sounds like a limp-wristed Deryck Whibley solo album.