Review Summary: Catchy and fun, two very fitting words to describe this effort from a band that did, in their prime, make some very enjoyable pop punk tunes. Metal influences aplenty and good songwriting make for a solid album.
As a teenager, you can listen to some bands which, years down the line, just come across as total crap when you re-evaluate your musical tastes. On occasions, there may be bands that do retain some integrity; maybe through being catchy and entertaining. Or perhaps they bear sentimental value in some aspects. Sum 41 are (to me, anyway), that sort of band. When I was around twelve years old, their music was awesome to me. Almost five years on, it may not be as impressive as I deemed it back way when, but Does This Look Infected is indeed a stellar effort from a band that have all but faded into nothingness.
The album opens up with one of the album's standout tracks, The Hell Song. After a hawk and a spit, a great riff, slightly more interesting than simplistic pop punk power chord progressions and a nice song structure greets you and makes for a great opener. Deryck's voice isn't really that great. Bearable, but there is very little variation in tone or delivery. So it's the same affair throughout in all honesty. Not to worry though - it fits the music and it's most definitely bearable. The rhythm section works well - bass adds low end and drums keep the beat. A few nice fills, nothing flashy. But damn, they sure knew how to write a tune. Oh, there is a really cool solo from Baksh too. Not exactly super speedy shredding but it is tasteful and display an adequate amount of technicality. The album continues in good motion with Over My Head. Another cool guitar riff (they are pretty simple but do the job) opens things up. Song structure wise, nothing much changes. The more punky moments on the CD include My Direction (one of my least favourites from the album) and the manic, almost irritating A.N.I.C. Angsty, angry vocals and a really quick almost hardcore punk delivery. It's pretty funny...the first time.
What lets the album down isn't the fact the songs are bad or that there are any stinkers. It's just all pretty samey. And as far as lyrics go, there is nothing here that is going to particularly strike you or interest you if you like your poetry. It's okay though. Baksh's solos pop up again here and no. There's quite a crazy widdly bit in No Brains that was rather unexpected and pleasantly surprising. Later album highlights would include the amusingly-titled Hyper-Insomnia-Para-Condroid and the bonus tracks included on the UK version of the album. However, they are Pain For Pleasure tracks. Which essentially is Sum 41, just dressed as hair metallers and playing slightly heavier. Still, enjoyable even if it is really cheesy and tongue in cheek. The rest of the tracks (mostly the middle of the album) aren't necessarily bad songs. Just rather forgettable. There's some really heavy screaming bits (heavy for Sum 41) in Mr. Amsterdam that are pretty cool though, further proving that this album was the bridge between immature pop punk and very evident metal influences that would be further displayed on Chuck. Oh, and Thanks For Nothing isn't too shabby either - fast paced and a catchy-as-hell chorus/outro section. Yay for immaturity!
So, overall, this really isn't all that bad. It's catchy, fun and entertaining. Obviously, there's much better music out there that's more challenging, rewarding and just plain better. But this album has some great replay value and some killer metal-influenced pop-punk songs. Probably more interesting if you're around the age of twelve. But hey, even older kids can enjoy the typically labeled "gay" stuff once in a while...
The Hell Song
Thanks For Nothing