Toronto rap group Ninja High School describes itself as "a positive hardcore dance-rap band," and its debut album, Young Adults Against Suicide, demonstrates just how difficult remaining positive within a traditional rap format can be. Somewhat more reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine than the Beastie Boys or Eminem, the group, led by art school dropout Matt Collins, is as good as any rap outfit at expressing anger; in fact, they're more eloquent than most, beginning leadoff track "Good Morning" with a voice intoning the words "a whirling vortex of blind rage." Second track "Jam Band Death Cult" is typical of the approach, which incorporates blistering criticism of society with a curious deference: "We don't wanna hurt feelings," goes the chorus, "but the people who keep wasting our time should shut the f*ck up, 'cause this is what's up." (The lyrics make frequent use of four-letter words, but the album does not carry a parental advisory sticker.) Here and elsewhere, Collins betrays his gentility and erudition (he may be the only rapper to use the word "hermeneutic" in a rap, even if he doesn't seem to know what it means), but he is frequently overcome by aggressive feelings. Musically, the tracks tend toward rudimentary rock sampling (including a borrowing from Talking Heads' "This Must Be the Place [Naïve Melody]" as the basis for "Shake It Off"), over which Collins and his cohorts shout and chant. So, what matters here is the lyrical view, which, despite the usual excess verbiage and belligerence, can be surprisingly optimistic, if typically coarse, as when they shout, "Let the f*cking sunshine in!" in "Shake It Off."