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+44 - When Your Heart Stops Beating

+44, When Your Hearts Stops Beating

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

FORMER Blink 182 members Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker return with a new band in the form of +44 (named after the international dialling code for England) and immediately impress.

Their debut album When Your Heart Stops Beating has been compiled with the help of Shane Gallagher (The Nervous Return) and Craig Fairbaugh (Transplants) and is designed to reflect the duo’s past and to build on something tangible for the future. It is not an experiment or a side project but a hopeful new direction.

Explains singer and bassist Hoppus: “We were two thirds of Blink 182 so we’re not afraid of sounding like ourselves. We’re not divorcing ourselves from the past but we are pushing beyond the past. We’re progressing like musicians should.”

Blink 182 fans, in particular, should take heart from this statement for they have a wealth of new material to choose from. With Tom DeLonge establishing Angels & Airwaves as an excellent new venture earlier this year with We Don’t Need To Whisper, Hoppus and Barker have stepped up to the plate to make sure they’re not the forgotten ones.

When Your Heart Stops Beating may lack the towering production values and skyscraping riffs of Angels & Airwaves but it’s a more unapologetically staight forward offering that embraces its past, while building for the future.

Kicking off with the riot of punk-pop energy that was first single Lycanthrope (released in limited edition 7” last week), the album then proceeds to deliver an energetic mix of fast and mid-tempo tracks that recall the brilliance of Blink 182 classics such as Feeling This and Miss You with a rich, maturer sound thrown in.

Second track Baby Come On, in particular, slow-builds into a tender punk-rock ballad about falling in love with a hopeless girl. It’s multi-layered and tip-toes into an energetic chorus that eschews all the values of the band members’ past – and it’s repeated in acoustic form later on to similarly enchanting effect.

The trick is repeated on mid-tempo offerings such as Little Death, which showcase how Hoppus and Barker are clearly growing as artists and maturing nicely. But there’s still an energetic exuberance surrounding more lively rockers such as title track When Your Heart Stops Beating and 155, which hints at some ’80s based electronica and Cheap Trick style theatrics.

There’s even a hint of The Cure during the guitar instrumental that is Interlude – the riffs and solos hinting at the aching beauty of Smith’s Pictures Of You later on.

Skyscraping punk-rock efforts such as Cliffdiving and Weatherman sound destined to become firm live favourites, mixing tempos to scintillating effect, while efforts such as the slow-building No, It Isn’t (with its melancholy lyrics and sadder guitar riffs) and the effervescent boy-girl trade-off of Make You Smile surprise and impress in different ways.

All of which makes When Your Heart Stops Beating a really, really cracking listen. Blink 182 may long since be departed but thanks to both Angels & Airwaves and now +44, their legacy remains intact. And now Blink fans have two, equally brilliant bands to choose from to help fill in the void.

Find out more about +44

Track listing:

  1. Lycanthrope
  2. Baby Come On
  3. When Your Heart Stops Beating
  4. Little Death
  5. 155
  6. Lillian
  7. Cliff Diving
  8. Interlude
  9. Weatherman
  10. No, It Isn’t
  11. Make You Smile
  12. Chapter 13 / Non-Musical Silence
  13. Baby Come On [Acoustic Version]
  14. Weatherman [Acoustic Version]