Well since we've all survived a potentially tragic Fourth of July, I figure it's time for another entry to the Sudsonbleeker. This week I've been allowed to choose the CD so I'm bringin' all ya'll a new one from some band outta Dallas, Texas. They're called Forever the Sickest Kids and the album in question is titled 'Underdog Alma Mater'.

FtSK (which is what I'm gonna abreviate them to for the sake of space) formed rather accidentally not too long ago. It's a long story, but essentially the guys who make up the band were considering forming a band but hadn't cemented anything yet. They'd all been members of other bands which went nowhere fast. I could name all these guys but I doubt you really care, so I won't. Suffice it to say that one of the guys went on the PureVolume website and "accidentally" purchased a front page billing for a band they hadn't yet formed. That spurred them into slapping together a song to post to the site which ended up being "Hey Brittany". I guess you could say FtSK is a band formed under duress.

They've definitely got a very 'college rock' sound to them and if you're familiar with Good Charlotte or Simple Plan then you've got a general idea of the style they're playing in which is described as "power pop". Most of the songs on this album deal with relationships and life in general, mainstays of the pop music genre. While some might consider their style to be slightly punk you're not going to hear struggles of blue collar upbringings or any of that - this is more suburban, upper-middle-class angst, for lack of a better way to describe it. And really, that's fine, might as well sing about what you know.

This isn't the group's first album, they released an EP, "Television Off, Party On" in early 2007 but it wouldn't be until April 29, 2008 that they'd release this album. They were on 2007's Warped Tour and they're on it again this year, as well. They also appeared on the Conan O'Brien show which is an omen of questionable impact for sure. Considering their slapdash formation, the band's certainly got a very polished and well-put-together sound to them that shines throughout the disc. It genuinely feels with the times and as if it's a product of this whole era of MySpace, Facebook and text messaging romances. You can't accuse these guys of straying into the strange or isolating the listeners they're aiming at.

Probably one of the strongest elements of this album is the attitude. While sarcasm's nothing new to pop music, getting it so sharply subversive is. You're not going to get a bunch of cheesy, bittersweet pseudo-punk songs. Okay, you are, but they feel like they carry more significance simply due to the way FtSK puts them across. They don't make girls look like the little sweethearts society enjoys painting them as and they don't make today's relationships look particularly easy. Obviously these guys feel the stress of our 24/7 American lifestyle and they paint a picture of these days that's hard to argue with accuracy-wise.

Surprisingly, most of the CD's worth more than one spin and I'm not sure I have a favorite although I know there's only one song I disliked and that's "Coffee Break." If this band meets your criteria for good music then I'm sure you'll find a few tracks you'll enjoy, too. If nothing else it's worth downloading just to mix things up on the iPod, know what I mean? I'll give it a 4 out of 5 for scarcely falling short of greatness - and falling solidly onto "pretty goodness".

Lyrics submitted by mike

Underdog Alma Mater - Forever the Sickest Kids song meanings
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    First of all, I don't think Good Charlotte or Simple Plan sound anything like ftsk, and secondly... I don't know how you don't like Coffee Break. anyway, I really dig this album and this band.
    PuNkMoNkEy113on July 30, 2008   Link

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