Sound — 7
I recently bought the plus 44 album, and I am quite impressed. Although the actual CD got quite a high rating, all the reviews put across the view that this was not quite up to standard. I agree with this to some level, especially when I heard that Lycanthrope was being put out as a single, I was puzzled, as it is in my opinion the worst song on the record. However, this may be because I was a huge Blink 182 fan back when they were together. I then realise that this is a completely different type of music. On the contrary, I doubt that many blink fans would actually like this album, it's very mellow and a lot more like blinks last album than any other. It is really a progression of where they were heading, with all the tom taken away. Even on the last album, we got a preview of the emptier songs with echoey drum beats and synthesisers, where the three began to experiment with characteristics other than repetitive guitar chords and perverted lyrics (don't get me wrong, I loved them, but any fan has to admit that they weren't the most sophisticated of lyrics). Anyway, more about the album. It's the kind you'd expect to fall to sleep to. Although there are some heavier tracks, the general beat is slower, and Hoppus and Barker are definetely heading away from the blink music and into the acoustic synthesiser zone, e.g. the postal service. Although they are quite far from that, we can see where they're heading, and I would never call this album punk. Criticism is easy within this album, it is not the finest piece of work either Hoppus or Barker have produced, but it is certainly a start. It is simply obvious that they both want to head off in a very different direction, and distance themself as much as possible from every glimpse of music they ever played before. And therefore, we simply can't criticise them for this. It even seems in this album like they were never even in blink, and that they're starting new, something that Hoppus made clear that he wanted to do in recent interviews. So ovefrall, I would say buy the album if you're a fan and want to continue supporting the work of Hoppus and Barker, but don't be surprised if it's not to your liking, as it certainly isn't punk pop. Keep an open mind, and remember, they never said it was going to change the world, they just want something new (unlike Tom DeLonge, who is sure he was "sent by God"). Thumbs up to them both for taking a huge leap in their career, and starting off on a completely different note.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics in this song are no longer about girls, sex and punk. This is probably because both Hoppus and Barker went through quite a lot around the time that they wrote the album, Hoppus lost both grandmothers, Barker divorced, and Tom DeLonge was on the cover of every Kerrang! These lyrics are much more beautiful and artistic, something which I believe the band seem to be strong on, after all they've had enough experience, and it was noticeable that Hoppus's writing increased in standard from 1993 to 2004 in blink. Hoppus said that on this album he was the most honest, and you can tell, as the lyrics are all about things that seem very personal to the band. There don't seem to be many happy lyrics on the record, and it reminds me somehow of Dashboard Confessional lyrics. Overall the lyrics are very impressive, and suit the type of music. The only song I think lacks musical skill and contains bad lyrics is Lycanthrope, I simply don't get it.
Overall Impression — 7
Although not many people seem to be supporting Plus 44, it is a huge step that the ex members had to take, and I think it is very well placed in the music around at the moment. Nothing new seems to be being produced from this type of music, and Plus 44 certainly have a very original sound. In my opinion, the most impressive songs are 'No It Isn't', 'Little Death' and 'When my heart stops beating'. The acoustic tracks on the end of the album are quite nice little things for listeners to enjoy. So overall, I'd give this above a 6 out of 10 review. This is certainly a lot different to the old material by the two ex blink members, and may not be liked by old fans. However, I think you should give it a try, give it a chance, and appreciate the huge originality in instrumental use, lyrics and general sound.