There have been and always will be "new Beatles." There will forever be offerings of "new Rolling Stones" and other second comings. It couldn't possibly be any other way. Everything new has been done before, so they say. There have not, however, been many new bands going after the sound of the Roots re-imagined as a Death Cab for Cutie/Fall Out Boy cover band. New York's Gym Class Heroes take their adventurous, genre-bending selves into those waters. They mix and match highly personal, problematic brushes with the opposite sex with a modern life of computers hooked into our bloodstreams (they are as confessional as Dashboard), plus they have the intensely experimental musical flourishes of Cody ChesnuTT and ?uestlove, alongside the always-in-vogue pop-punk energy that is the currency of the high school set.
The Gym Class Heroes—victims of a name they've grown out of just as a young lady grows out of her girlhood obsession with ponies—were brought into the world by Fueled by Ramen's exclusive Fall Out Boy imprint, Decaydance. Travis McCoy, an emcee with sick lyrical capacity and a keen handle on the social networking of his generation, fronts the band. He writes songs about meeting girls on MySpace and freely admits that he spends an abhorrent amount of time pecking away on a computer keyboard, letting the pimp juice flow.
Despite the impression I may have just given you, McCoy's songwriting chops are far from horrible. The songs on the band's As Cruel as School Children are exciting and fresh, and in no way the makings of a group that follows any static pathway. Maybe it's because they've entitled their current tour "The Daryl Hall for President Tour" that we see them differently, but it's the goods—which they have in bushels—that have the band touting one of the top downloads on iTunes, and which has them inexplicably opening for Gwen Stefani this summer. Didn't see that one coming, now did you?