Suburban Legends - Infectious (Cover Artwork)

Suburban Legends

Infectious (2007)


I became increasingly dissatisfied with the direction the band was taking. I mean, they all thought Aaron Carter was a musical genius...seriously. So, they kicked me out.
-Chris Batstone, former lead singer (kicked out in early 2002)

I'll admit, 2003's Rump Shaker was a guilty pleasure. That rare "third-wave after third-wave was dead" album struck a chord with me. The music was derivative of the countless third-wave bands that'd come and gone, the lyrics vapid and hollow, and production that sounded like it was recorded in the men's room at the local Denny's. But I'll be damned if it wasn't a fun album that received its share of spins with the windows rolled down that summer.

After countless lineup changes and the loss of tromboner Dallas Cook, the band released the 2006 EP Dance Like Nobody's Watching (or, if you live in Japan, the full-length Dance Like Nobody's Watching: Tokyo Nights). It marked a drastic change in the band's sound. Though it still had plenty of horns, it was all funk and disco and no ska. Unfortunately, Infectious followed in its footsteps.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Considering they've played more shows in Disneyland than they have outside of California, I shouldn't have expected much in the first place. That much time in such a sanitized environment is bound to take its toll on anyone. But I never took the above Aaron Carter quote seriously. I just thought Batstone was putting a humorous spin on being kicked out of the band.

If this was the first album these guys had put out, I'd at least be able to write them off and forget they ever existed. But that's not the case, and the fact that I found their last album enjoyable and the fact that this album and the prior EP were almost four years in the making just makes this a slap in the face. That this also reeks of bandwagon-jumping doesn't help. These guys stuck with ska years after it was no longer profitable, and I admired that. But such a sudden shift in sound toward the likes of Cobra Starship and Men, Women & Children is too much to ignore.

Honestly, the only good thing this album has going for it is that the production is infinitely better than Rump Shaker.

But a polished turd is still a turd.