Gym Class Heroes
It’s weird suggesting a group whose previous album demanded listeners get their “Clothes Off!!” ever lacked confidence. But 2006’s As Cruel As School Children seems downright tentative next to Gym Class Heroes’ latest-the sound of four musicians who can now do whatever they want. A sampler of styles (sweet reggae; early-’90s rap; blissful punk-pop) where every square makes sense, The Quilt expertly stitches together art and commerce. Every song has an insistent hook, but despite the high-profile hip-hop guests (Busta Rhymes, producers Cool & Dre), nothing feels calculated. Frontman Travis McCoy has likewise sussed the value of not-quite-full-disclosure, offering deeply personal revelations without any emo aftertaste. Guitarist Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo’s “No Place To Run” and “Live A Little” are fist-pumping anthems any of GCH’s Warped tourmates would open a vein for. It’s fitting GCH are the first hip-hop outfit to grace AP’s cover since Outkast in 2001; they’re just as innovative.