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Plain White T's
Stop
Fearless Records
www.plainwhitets.com


Chicago rockers Plain White T's have established a name for themselves outside of the Vans Warped Tour with their hit song "Hey There Delilah" giving them international recognition. The band has re-released their debut album, Stop, on Fearless Records which includes three bonus tracks. The album builds the band's power punk rock foundation, additionally suspending a country-folk flavoring on select tracks and an energetic modern rock flare on others. The band teeters between a domesticated soft rock swing and an upbeat power rock propulsion. It's music that a young generation of rock fans have grabbed onto and taken for a ride, impacted with fun and boosts of optimism that make you want to face what's up ahead.

Songs like the title track, "Please Don't Do This," and "What If" create a power rock fanfare that riles up vigorous arpeggios moored by solid, driving rhythms. The party-punk grooves of "Fireworks" and "Happy Someday" foment and frazzle the chord dynamics. The melodic rock fuses on "Leavin'" have a Nickelback lift, and the country-folk lathers on "Shine" and "A Lonely September" produce a comfortable Eddie Vedder stroking. The band is headstrong when it comes to their power pop punk sledges filing through tunes like "Your Fault," "Can't Turn Away," and "Penny (Perfect For You)." The lyrics are narratives like in "Penny" showing a determination not to play the fool, "You're tellin' me that you don't mess around/ And I'm telling you that I don't care/ Well OK, go have your fun/ go out with penny if it's what you've gotta do/ But if you tell him that you love him/ Make sure that he knows that you told me that too."

The album flows into a soothing soft rock ballad on "Radios In Heaven" honing a warm vocal radiance and breezy melodic valves tenderly embossed. The album includes three bonus tracks that are worth checking out starting with the emo-rock stylizing of "Cinderella Story" which is powered by heart-felt vocals and excitable rhythmic shifts. The rustling drum kicks of "Bruises" stimulate a party-fun enthusiasm and the hard rock-toned revelry in the layering of "Let's Pretend" is worthy of Circa Survive. The band's guitarist Dave Tirio plays the drum parts on the album, Ken Fletcher plays bass, and the band's co-writer Steve Mast performs the guitar segments. The band's lineup today includes De'Mar Hamilton on drums, Mike Retondo on bass, Tirio and Tim Lopez on guitars and backup vocals, and Higgenson on lead vocals.

Produced by Loren Israel (Sugarcult, Rock Kills Kid) and the Plain White T's, Stop is headstrong when it comes to the band's power punk burns. The album fires up and concludes with an equal measure of enthusiasm. The music comes in with the hoots and hollering heard on the first day of spring break and leaves you taking that frolicking freedom with you. What keeps the listener's interest is that the band soaks their feet in other waters beside the urgency of power punk whorls and makes an album that provides more than one dimension.

-Susan Frances


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