Sound — 8
Underdog Alma Mater - Deluxe Edition Forever The Sickest Kids (FTSK) is one of the new bands I've heard this past year. And, from first impressions, they brought a different techno-like style to pop rock. It sounded fresh, but hardly innovative. It sounds a bit over-produced (sometimes I cannot understand the lyrics entirely). However, since this is the deluxe version, we have 17 new tracks to play. The new tracks are basically alternate versions, demos, re-mixes and covers of other artists. The alternate versions of their songs sound a bit better, because they are not as over-dubbed as the first 13 songs are. For example, the song Believe Mme I'm Lying has three versions in this album. So you can hear how FTSK's sound "evolved" to what it is now. The new tracks give you something new to hear and, depending on whether you are a fan or not, will either please you or just simply put you off the band altogether.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are pretty straight-forward, no frills or big words or fancy rhymes. They are easy to relate to, if you can understand them first. It's not the overly romantic words we often hear in mainstream music. Though I think that some of the songs don't have a regular flow to the (Verse, refrain, chorus, verse, etc). It's not on all the songs, but it's kinda nice. FTSK has a number of vocalists, which honestly I find it hard to tell apart sometimes, and they manage to blend their voices evenly (not one vocalist over-powering the others voice), even on the demo tracks.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, the deluxe edition of Underdog Alma Mater is an easy recommendation if you're already a fan of FTSK or if you like their genre. It mixes old with the new, and also provides a great cover of Taylor Swift's Love Story. Think of it as All Time Low or The Maine mixed with a bit of techno. New listeners, however, will have a hard time appreciating this album. It's not that it's not good, it's just that it's too different for some. It's not going to redefine a genre, but it will give future artists something new to think about.