Plain White T's - Every Second Counts
Review by Jack Foley
PLAIN White T’s were virtually unknown in the UK until the massive American success of their single Hey There Delilah paved the way for a successful assault on our charts.
That song became a No 1 smash in the Billboard Hot 100 in America and captivated British listeners with its aching sentiment and simple acoustic guitar backing. But anyone expecting more of the same from the rest of the album Every Second Counts could be in for a disappointment.
That’s because for almost a decade, Plain White T’s have been playing to packed audiences in Chicago craving another pop-punk fix. In fact, their sound is more likely to appeal to fans of Fall Out Boy and other Fuelled By Ramen signings than anyone anticipating the next big ballad band.
Partly, that’s a good thing. Too many songs like Hey There Delilah would probably have become boring. But equally, it’s a big departure from the more signature sound of the latest album, where plugged in guitars rule the day and contain a bona fide pop-punk charge.
Hey There Delilah is the standout track. But there’s still plenty to make it an enjoyable listen. The band clearly has the ability to juggle strong lyricism with some fine melodies, even if they fall prey to a few too many easy comparisons.
Other highlights include the lively Hate (I Really Don’t Like You), a nice contrast to the aching romanticism of Delilah which, acccording to singer Tom Higgenson, is a “kind of vindictive” reflection on a girl he liked that totally blew him off.
Or the socially responsible Friends Don’t Let Friends Dial Drunk, which makes a nice change to a lot of the alcohol driven tracks that bands like to rock. Again, it’s about a girl who’d only call Tom when drunk and in need of assistance but it effectively showcases the band’s offbeat take on love and life.
Making A Memory, on the other hand, is a mid-tempo offering that does mark the return of something more romantic, albeit a song about saying sorry for screwing things up (“don’t pretend you’re not smiling again, you know I didn’t mean it/don’t know why we put up such a fight over nothing”).
It’s just a shame that the album doesn’t take a few more risks like Delilah. Rather, it seems content to stick to the pop-punk formula with slightly more average cuts such as Tearin’ Us Apart, Let Me Take You There and Our Time Now.
It reduces Every Second Counts to a fun, frivolous but largely forgettable listen, rather than something really worth taking notice of.
Download picks: Hey There Delilah, Hate (I Really Don’t Like You), Friends Don’t Let Friends Dial Drunk, Making A Memory, Gimme A Chance