Blink-182 Upgrades Their Sound With +44

When Blink-182 announced their “indefinite hiatus” in 2005, everyone was anxious to see what would become of the infamous trio.

Guitarist and singer/songwriter Tom DeLonge went on to form Angels ‘ Airwaves, while bassist and singer/songwriter Mark Hoppus stayed with drummer Travis Barker and formed +44, (The name being the dialing code in the UK.)

I must say that I am glad to hear Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker of Blink-182 not making absurd claims about their new band +44 being able to, “compete with the greatest rock records of all time” as their former counterpart Tom Delorge of Angels ‘ Airwaves has done. That being said, +44’s debut CD has stayed true to its Blink-182 roots without compromising the new project’s uniqueness.

Adding former guitarist from The Transplants, Craig Fairbaugh and former guitarist of The Nervous Return, Shane Gallagher could only help bring about a more mature sound to Hoppus’ and Barker’s punk/ pop sound that Blink was ever so popular for.

The new CD from +44, “When Your Heart Stops Beating” is a CD that blends Blink’s punk/pop rock with maturity and meaningful lyrics. But, do not mistake this album for another Blink project. I assure you that +44 has their own crafted sound.

One of the main reasons that this album received so much speculation is because these are of Mark Hoppus’ deepest and most meaningful lyrics yet. The album allows Hoppus to attack his problems with the falling out of Blink on songs like “Little Death,” where he says, “A little death makes life more meaningful,” obviously speaking about Blink.

The first track off the album, “Lycanthrope,” comes flying at you over 100 miles per hour right off the bat, leaving you absolutely breathless after it’s all done. After this the CD tends to alternate on every song, going from gut wrenching up tempo songs then to slower songs with soothing melodies.

Songs like “Make You Smile” and “Lillian” will have you humming along with their slower tempo choruses, while songs like “Baby, Come On” and “When Your Heart Stops Beating” will have you singing at the top of your lungs with their ever-so-contagious melodies.

“When Your Heart Stops Beating” is a wonderful artistic statement from four guys trying to go elsewhere in their musical careers by each member leaving behind very successful bands. So for everyone wondering about +44, with all the expectations these guys had from former works, they once again show us how an album should sound: lively, contagious and unique.

This album leaves me with my jaw on the floor and curious to see what is more to come of these guys in the future. Bottom Line: 8/10

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