Whole Wheat Bread - Hearts of Hoodlums (Cover Artwork)

Whole Wheat Bread

Whole Wheat Bread: Hearts of HoodlumsHearts of Hoodlums (2009)
Fighting Records

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:

Contributed by: AllonAllon
(others by this writer | submit your own)

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No matter how you feel about them, there's no denying that Whole Wheat Bread have built a small cult following over the last half-decade. Brandishing their own style of early 2000s pop-punk (¡ la Sum 41 or New Found Glory in their heydays), they've already got numerous tours under their belts with other punk rock luminaries as the Bouncing Souls, Big D and The Kids Table and even Rancid. Whether you feel that much of that success has been reliant on gimmicks more than anything else or not, that's a discussion to save for another time (most likely the comments section on this page). Either way, it's hard to refute that the band has come a long way in such a short amount of time.

Three years since the Punk Life EP, and having since gone through a revolving door of bass players, Whole Wheat Bread kick off the new year with a return to form found in their second full-length, entitled Hearts of Hoodlums. Critics of Punk Life's heavy experimentation with hip-hop will be glad to know that WWB have toned it down considerably this time around, as it's only prominently featured in two songs ("Throw Your Sets Up" and "Stuck in Da Dark"). Both take a much more relaxed approach in comparison to Punk Life's gangster rap/rock jams, and while they aren't necessarily bad, they lack that obnoxious allure that drew in fans on their last go-around with raucous tracks like "I Don't Give a Fuck" and "No Problem."

Other than that, the Jacksonville trio has added a dash of maturity to a lot of their songwriting this time around as well. Fast-paced anthems about smoking weed and running from the police are in shorter supply and taking their place are more serious songs to sink your teeth into. Vocalist Aaron Abraham's tribute to his father (aptly titled "Ode 2 Father") and a mostly acoustic track called "Staying True" are some of the highlights to pick out from this group. Meanwhile, older fans of the band can find some enjoyment in songs like "Lower Class Man" and "I Can't Think"; either one could have fit just as well on 2005's effort, Minority Rules. All in all, there's a little something for everyone on this record that can keep casual fans as well as die-hard ones happy.

But that's just the thing. The one problem Whole Wheat Bread keeps running into here is that they're simply trying to please too many people at once. Between the hip-hop songs, the fun and goofy songs and the serious songs, Hearts of Hoodlums never seems to find the niche it wants to carve. Whole Wheat Bread is just one of those bands that polarizes people so much that until they find the exact place where they want to be, I don't see this record making WWB a whole lot of new fans.

Those who love the band will likely eat this up, and those who can't stand it will stay far, far away. You won't find much middle ground when it comes to them, so take your pick.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
dickshivers (May 9, 2009)

This band fucking sucks.

bossdj (March 27, 2009)

I like these guys alot, but I can't figure out why they are always touring with ska bands. I saw them live with Reel Big Fish and Streelight Manifesto around 3 years ago.

itsAgiftANDaCurse (March 17, 2009)

This is a great album. I haven't heard their earlier releases. If you like catchy melodic punk you'll really enjoy this album.

SilentStorms (February 17, 2009)

Wasn't this band's demos partially screamy and mathy? Or am I just confusing them for another band? Score is for the band I thought (in actuality or in dreamspace)!

SpAgetttt (February 12, 2009)

sick. love these guys.

Hey_Asshole (February 12, 2009)

well...i think the description was fair.
she WAS white, and WAS a bitch. had she not been a bitch, i would not refer to her as such.

blip (February 12, 2009)

haha that's what i was thinking. i think hey_asshole is the real bitch; all he ever does is bitch.

crackpotdemagogue (February 12, 2009)

and it's not dumb to refer to a woman as "some white bitch"

sounds like you are morally confused to me

Hey_Asshole (February 11, 2009)

i remember this band playing with The Bouncing Souls in Chicago a few years back.

they had some white bitch (who was dressed like a stereotypical rap video ho) selling their merch. once the show let out, she was yelling about how anyone who did not buy Whole Wheat Bread merch were racist.

it was the dumbest thing ever.

fuck this band

Grue (February 11, 2009)

My girlfriend is quite ok, if you don't like her, your fucking gay!

deadxlast (February 11, 2009)

Frankly, I prefer the fast-paced songs about smoking weed and running from police. I'll still give this a chance though.

Score is for the song "No Future".

GlassPipeMurder (February 11, 2009)

also: "Bombs Away" is awesome and sounds nothing like anything on Minority Rules

GlassPipeMurder (February 11, 2009)

i ain't get no sleep! ever since i hooked up with whole wheat bread...

dordon (February 11, 2009)

been waiting for this review.

WWB put on such a great live show, but their albums always seem to be less energetic.

that being said, i think this is a pretty solid follow up to minority rules.

lower class man is my ringtone.

fallingupwards84 (February 11, 2009)

Fast-paced anthems about smoking weed and running from the police are in shorter supply and taking their place are more serious songs to sink your teeth into

based on the description, i'd much rather hear the former

usversusthem (February 11, 2009)

I like that they sort of pre-empted the inevitable crime jokes themselves here. Interesting strategy.

punk_rawk_show (February 10, 2009)

Really enjoy this cd, the review is pretty spot on.

'Ode To Father' is such a great song

Blackjaw_x (February 10, 2009)

First song rocks hard, the rest are all almost identical to one another and far too cheesy. I think their pop punk stuff is pretty useless, but the rap stuff is fun. Believe it or not.

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