Following the mammoth three-year tour in support of '13 Voices', you could have forgiven Deryck Whibley for having a bit of a breather. But the Sum 41 frontman had other ideas instead, and in the space of a frenzied few weeks, the foundations for the Canadian’s seventh record were laid firmly in place. Written almost as a stream of consciousness, ‘Order In Decline’ is most definitely a ‘state of the nation’, a sense of pessimism and disbelief pervasive everywhere - with one bloated orange-coloured individual, in particular, casting the largest shadow of all.
Holding nothing back emotionally, ‘Order In Decline’ is like reading scattered pages torn from an intimate diary, jumbled though still forming a thread overall. Opener ‘Turning Away’ deals with moving on from the end of a relationship, while ‘A Death In The Family’ and ’45 (A Matter Of Time)’, the latter most definitely about you-know-who, tremble and shake with a barely-controlled rage, both eventually crashing in a tidal wave of anger. ‘Eat You Alive’ and ‘The People Vs…’ expand and explore in a similar fashion, depressingly familiar sentiments of these most turbulent times.
Unafraid to switch things up stylistically too, there are new shapes and forms for Sum 41 to try out - though, in truth, not all of it lands. ‘Never There’ wastes its heartfelt message to Whibley’s absent father by drowning in a sea of saccharine, it’s power lost in overly safe and polished production. ‘The New Sensation’ and its call for resistance gives far more than just a nod to ‘The Resistance’-era Muse, but the likes of Dave Baksh and Tom Thacker ensure that respects are still laid at the altars of Iron Maiden and their ilk with some suitably hair-swinging breakdowns at points. At its best, there is plenty here to show that any decline is being kept largely at bay.