Local Wire

Good Charlotte/Sum 41

"I don't want to grow up," spat Milo Aukerman, singer for pop-punk trailblazers the Descendents, nearly 20 years ago. Now two of their descendants -- Good Charlotte and Sum 41 -- are doing just that after coming out of the gates as snotty, Hot Topic-ed kiddy-punkers. Peep Good Charlotte's new album title, The Chronicles of Life and Death, then listen to the strings, synths, pianos and acoustic guitars wresting control from the three-chord crunch within (not to mention a parade of tunes about how shitty the world is), and it's clear these mascaraed Marylanders are grasping for the kind of gravitas found at Dick Cheney's house just down the Beltway. Meanwhile, Canadian goofballs Sum 41 chronicled life and death for real earlier this year, nearly taking rebel bullets in the Congo while there to film a documentary on behalf of the relief organization War Child. The band named its new album, Chuck, after the U.N. peacekeeper who helped get them out alive, and it, too, takes a serious tack both instrumentally and lyrically. Still, no one should be shocked if members of either band take off their pants or puke on each other onstage -- they ain't that grown up.
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Michael Alan Goldberg