The Quilt (2008) Two years ago, Gym Class Heroes' kitschy, '80s-inspired formula made them pop stars, propelling their breakthrough CD, 2006's As Cruel as School Children , up… 2008-09-09 Gym Class Heroes Hip-Hop/Rap Pop
Music Review

The Quilt (2008)

Gym Class Heroes | UPSTATE LOVE Gym Class Heroes comes back with an upbeat poppy album filled with industry giants
UPSTATE LOVE Gym Class Heroes comes back with an upbeat poppy album filled with industry giants
EW's GRADE
B

Details Release Date: Sep 09, 2008; Lead Performance: Gym Class Heroes; Genres: Hip-Hop/Rap, Pop

Two years ago, Gym Class Heroes' kitschy, '80s-inspired formula made them pop stars, propelling their breakthrough CD, 2006's As Cruel as School Children, up the charts with hits like ''Clothes Off!'' and ''Cupid's Chokehold.'' Now The Quilt finds them working with some of the biggest names in urban music (Busta Rhymes, The-Dream, Tricky Stewart, Cool & Dre) in a misguided effort to be taken seriously as a hip-hop band. The Roots they are not. As a rapper, frontman Travis McCoy is more in his element when duetting with British soul siren Estelle on the Black Eyed Peas-ish ''Guilty as Charged'' than when trying to keep up with a seasoned pro like Busta on ''Peace Sign/Index Down.''

Despite the band's best efforts, The Quilt isn't hip-hop; it's polished, radio-friendly pop. Longtime collaborator Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy produced half of the disc's 14 songs, anchoring it with guitar-driven tracks that cater to GCH's core fans. The group upholds its reputation for co-opting '80s pop by tapping Daryl Hall to appear on ''Live Forever (Fly With Me)'' and drawing inspiration from Corey Hart on ''Blinded by the Sun.'' Other highlights include the first single, ''Cookie Jar,'' which echoes the cheeky flavor of Fergie's ''London Bridge,'' and the ska-influenced ''Drnk Txt Romeo,'' a sunny delight that would make Gwen Stefani proud. It's the kind of benign mall music that's likely to be played ad nauseam at trendy chains like Wet Seal and Forever 21 while tweens shop for colored denim and leggings. B
DOWNLOAD THIS: Listen to ''Catch Me if You Can'' on the band's MySpace page

Originally posted Sep 05, 2008 Published in issue #1010-1011 Sep 12, 2008 Order article reprints