You may not be aware but The Plain White T’s made a pledge music campaign a couple of months ago that saw them leave their label Hollywood Records and go completely independent. Their return to the music industry has been underwhelming but for the fans that have stuck by them they are ready to deliver their seventh studio album.
“Pause” is one of the bands strongest songs to date and incorporates smooth melodies, old school Plain White T’s realness and an infectious/punchy hook. When I listen to this song I feel like I’ve been teleported back to 2006 and if radio actually took notice it has the potential to be another smash hit for them. “Heavy Rotation” and “Someday You’re Gonna Love Me” are also perfect examples of this recreation of their earlier sound. The lyrics are a tad cliché but that’s a part of their unique charm along with their boppy pop/rock choruses. “It doesn’t matter if you love me, I’m gonna love you anyway. It doesn’t matter how you feel right now ‘cause there’s no doubt someday your gonna love me”. “Stay” offers a strong verse and bridge with a groovy guitar riff but it’s the chorus that falls flat with an annoyingly whiny hook.
They have also experimented with mature sounds to strengthen and improve as a band. “Never Working” is a clear standout that experiments with a more natural sound allowing lead singer Tom Higgenson to deliver a lower tone and perfectly adapt with the gradual melody build up. “Love Again” is unrecognizable as a Plain White T’s song and honestly sounds like it’s been taken from a different era. This song is so enjoyable because it’s completely different to anything else featured and with its fusion of acoustic pop and blues it would be the perfect mid concert track. Sadly not all experiments turn out well and the messy country tinged “Dance Off Time” is subject to that quote while “Here Comes The Sunrise” is mature but just plain average. Sadly there are a couple of songs on the album that sound ultimately repetitive, generic, and cheesy and bring no real substance to the album. These include the snooze worthy “American Nights”, “You Belong” and “Time To Move On”.
In its entirety “American Nights” delivers old school Plain White T’s bops as well as some new age matured material but there are a handful of tracks that weigh it down with repetitive musical ideas. They were one of my favourite bands in my teenage years and “Pause” brought all those feelings rushing back. This may not be their best album to date but it’s raw, pure and honest. It’s worth a listen but don’t be surprised if you need to skip a few tracks.