Sum 41

Screaming Bloody Murder

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The instigating factor on Screaming Bloody Murder, Sum 41’s fifth album, are Deryck Whibley’s divorce from pretty punkette Avril Lavigne and his decision to produce the record on his own. The divorce provides considerable grist for the lyrical mill and Whibley gives Sum 41 a musicality they’ve never suggested on their prior four albums, adding considerable drama and ballast, not to mention strings and pianos. Even if there’s a fair amount of affected British accents and overdriven guitars, it’s a far cry from the mall-punk rebellion of Underclass Hero, the melodramatic bombast flavored with metallic flecks and solipsistic acoustic pity, all giving Screaming Bloody Murder a grander, richer palette than any other Sum 41 record. For as much thematic and musical ambition Whibley and crew display here, it’s hard not to shake the feeling that Sum 41 are trying on a suit they don’t have the build to fill; the threads are right, but the cut is loose and baggy, so even if it is appealing at a glance, it becomes less attractive upon closer inspection.

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