Gym Class Heroes – The Papercut Chronicles (CD)

Gym Class Heroes – The Papercut Chronicles / 2004 Fueled By Ramen / 4 Tracks / http://www.gymclassheroes.com / http://www.fueledbyramen.com / Reviewed 07 February 2005

Hey I remember hearing the hook that a band only came out and used live musicians instead of samples back when The Roots said about it a few years ago. However, Gym Class Heroes are miles and miles better than anything that The Roots (and Cody Chestnutt) could ever come out with. Sounding aurally similar to Dynamite Hack with their first track, “Taxi Driver”, Schleprock’s vocals sound perfectly in tune with the rest of the band. Like many of the r&b tracks that are currently out though, the beat of “Taxi Driver” is really nothing without some form of lyrical flow. Perhaps if Ryan, Matt, and Disashi tried to make something more innovative and less of a cradle fo Schleprock’s vocals the music would be something more to hear. However, “Papercuts” completely allows for the slate to be cleaned. In this track, Ryan (the bass guitarist for Gym Class Heroes) comes out and molds the track to eir specification, providing an almost-vocal quality with eir voice. In this, all facets of the act are given equal time, unlike the vocal-heavily opening to the track. Gym Class Heroes have a very radio-friendly sound, but are not privy to the pitfalls that hold back many of the high-rotation artists in their genre (Crazy Town, Everlast, 311) due to some idea of the musical aspect necessary for an artistically fulfilling track.

The lower-key tempo of “Boomerang Theory” allows for a mixture of the two sides of Gym Class Heroes that we as listeners have already experienced. However, the band’s progress is halted when again the instrumental factors of the band allow Schleprock’s flow to dominate, and are used in much the same way as a stale backbeat. Much like “Taxi Driver”, the distinct sections of the track are not intricate enough to keep the interest of the average listener from flagging. Finishing off their EP with “Makeout Club”, Ryan comes back in a meaningful way but in all eir intricacy ey still is not used for anything meaningful besides filling the empty spaces of the track. The only thing special about “Makeout Club” is the hooky chorus, which has Schleprock harmonizing, nay even signing and interrupting, even destroying the cobwebs of complacency that had grown through the mediocrity of the majority of this EP. There are some bright points to this disc, but there are enough questionable moments on “The Papercut Chronicles” that I would be leery recommending individuals to check out Gym Class Heroes.

Top Track: Makeout Club

Rating: 4.9/10

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