Plain White T's - Stop [reissue] (Cover Artwork)

Plain White T's

Stop [reissue] (2007)


Plain White T's made it into mainstream radio with their single "Hey There Delilah" featured on their two previous releases, All That We Needed in 2005 and Every Second Counts in 2006. The band has recently re-released their debut album, Stop, on Fearless Records, which includes three bonus tracks. The album profiles the band's good-natured rapport and soft punk spins. The melodic tone of the album is elevated to a Fall Out Boy blitz with a mixture of acoustic country, pop/rock, and sunny punk curvatures. Produced by Loren Israel (Sugarcult, Rock Kills Kid) and the Plain White T's, the album has kegs of ravishing guitar trills, jumping rhythms and upbeat fumes which keep the energy level on overdrive. The rock quintet, based in Chicago, developed a reputation among concertgoers at the Vans Warped Tour, and though Stop undeniably has a poppy punk edge synonymous with Warped bands, the album sprouts a wider range of musicality. They drill everything from Jimmy Eat World's keystone emo to Cary Brothers' country-bound acoustics and Papa Roach's hard rock cleats.

Punk rock fires rake through tracks like "What If" and "Your Fault" making plump rhythmic knolls and tight guitar curls that resonate into widescreen bellows. The rhythmic kicks and guitar raptures are resilient as lead singer Tom Higgenson's vocals invoke a pleasurable vibe. The punk rock excursions are stirring and leave the listener feeling winded. The band travels into more mild tempos like on the melodic rock-imbued "Leavin'," quivering a Chris Daughtry-ember that reappears on the sprinkling guitar strums for "A Lonely September." The homey vibe in the grooves is complemented with Higgenson's vocals creating a sing-along attraction. The pop/rock textures of "Cinderella Story" have a Jimmy Eat World romancing and the crystalline guitar shires on "Can't Turn Away" braid bobbling rhythm sections with uplifting melodics.

In conjunction with the music, the lyrics keep a positive forecast about life like in the self-encouraging words of "Can't Turn Away." Higgenson expresses, "My heart, it is in love with the rock ‘n' roll / And playing music is all that I really know / You know love, it's the only thing you can't control / Can't stop believing / No matter how long it takes / It might kill me to keep on dreaming / But I'd rather die than throw it away." The music, like the lyrical themes, push the listener upward and make whatever feels impossible to seem inevitable.

For the recording of Stop, the band's present guitarist Dave Tirio played drums, Ken Fletcher played bass, and Steve Mast handled guitar parts. Plain White T's' current band members Mike Retondo (bassist), Tim Lopez (guitarist), and De'Mar Hamilton (drums) joined Higgenson and Tirio in 2005. Stop put Plain White T's in the eye of softcore punk. It is hard to imagine that many of the tracks on Stop went as far back as 2002, though it does re-enforce that the band was good then. Power punk suits Plain White T's but it does not pigeonhole them and Stop shows that they can do more.