Gym Class Heroes continue working to incorporate sugary pop melodies into their hip-hop band, and even throw in a few reggae touches on "The Quilt." But the styles don't merge too seamlessly, giving things a thrown-together, disjointed feel.
Making your hip-hop using live instrumentation is a tricky task. Just ask the Roots, who over the years have incorporated more and more studio-tweaked bells and whistles into their sound.
Gym Class Heroes take the hip-hop band concept and add another dimension: pop music. Signed to Fall Out Boy singer Pete Wentz’s label, they’re definitely rap for kids who listen to emo music. True to their name, songs about high-school drama, exceeding your text-messaging limit and other teenage trappings form the main stitches in "The Quilt."
But where the Roots ride dissonant jazz-based grooves, Gym Class Heroes mix sugary pop with their hip-hop, which works in its way, but it’s kind of weird to hear happy-sappy choruses with f-bombs littered throughout.
Drummer Matt McGinley could take a lesson or two from the Roots’ Questlove on dirtying up his beats, but that’s not to say there aren’t a few solid tracks.
“Drnk Txt Rmeo,” an ode to running up your cell phone bill, is straight forward hip-hop groove, and its chorus is the first of many moments that satisfies the band’s occasional reggae urge. “Live a Little” pushes that jones into Sublime territory, and “Blinded by the Sun” has a spaghetti-Western-meets-Bob Marley feel.
There are opposing forces at work here, however. MC Travis McCoy and the Heroes are trying to have it both ways, at various times mixing pop and hip-hop. But often the two genres stay relatively separate, giving things a disjointed feel.