The Please & Thank Yous - Mind Yr P's & Q's [cassette] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Please & Thank Yous

Mind Yr P's & Q's [cassette] (2010)

Ice Age / Death to False Hope

Chicago's the Please & Thank Yous--or TPATY--are a pop-punk band that have an obvious self-professed love of the '90s. When you think of those two things, there are some immediate associations that spring to mind, such as sped-up Ramonescore and immature lyrics. Sure, that sounds fun, but not particularly refreshing. Their new cassette/digital full-length, Mind Yr P's & Q's, shows a rare respect of pop-punk and power-pop musical history that melds a diverse range of influences into a single bright point. You can hear the same careful attention in every minute of this record, which sadly departed bands like the Ergs!, Sicko and J Church were known for without sounding exactly like any of them.

The shuffling drum into, bouncy rhythms and clean guitars that grace your speakers on "Be a Tree...Che?" will seem familiar to anyone that has been following Fake Problems' or the Sidekicks' recent marriages of Americana and pop. However, the short breakdown in the middle of the song that relies on mostly guitar feedback and the proto-hardcore yelps of the backup vocals distantly calling the listener in show a dynamic that neither of those bands explores. It is one of the many small but important touches like this that give the album its real depth, like the chimes on the intro to album highlight "Fucking Honestly" that sets Mind Yr P's & Q's apart from the plethora of generic releases. TPATY understand that it isn't the grand sweeping gestures of say, Angels & Airwaves, that make great records; it's the little things that on the surface don't make a large impression, but if removed would devoid the recording of all its charm. And fun, quirky charm is something TPATY have in spades.

This is very much an album to be listened to as a whole, as the pacing and flow is integral to its listening experience. Sure, a song like "Holy Hell,!" with its huge sing-along potential of "And we‘re singing along at the gates of hell tonight!" would sound great in any context, but even more so when it directly follows "I‘m Not Calling You." "I‘m Not Calling You," using sound bites of answering machine messages as the only vocalization, is able to perfectly convey the core idea of the song without being too obscure or blunt and sets you up for the winning vocal arrangements in "Holy Hell." "Speaking of the Devil" reveals the band's Midwestern roots with mathy guitar parts and soaring vocals while the title song is an homage of sorts to Weezer's "Only in Dreams." When they are placed in the same continuum like this, you can truly see how interconnected seemingly unrelated sounds and philosophies exist together. Things close with a "hidden" track of gang vocals taken from "Fucking Honestly" which occurs in the middle of the record done a cappella bringing the record to a climactic close.

If you like your pop-punk to be both something that is a fun experience as well as a thoughtful one, don't sleep on the Please & Thank Yous, because this might be one of the best pop-punk records you hear all year. Even if you are just looking for some sing-alongs and strong melodies, Mind Yr P's & Q's isn't a bad place to look either. Highly recommended.