When Your Heart Stops Beating
I like Blink 182. I admit it. I like their intensity, humor and that they know how to write the perfect punk rock song. I also liked Mark Hoppus’ singing better than Tom DeLong’s (although I also enjoy DeLong’s Angels & Airwaves). So when I received +44’s When Your Heart Stops Beating, I thought that it would be fantastic. Other than Travis Barker’s inhuman drumming skills, the album is average at best upon the first listen. Then it grows like a fungus on forgotten leftovers.
“Lycanthrope” is an in-your-face rocker that is a perfect opener to an album that is energetic and highly catchy. “No It Isn’t” showcases the band’s songwriting skill and ability to invoke some passionate feelings with the last lines, “So please understand/ This isn’t just goodbye/ This is I can’t stand you.”
The best track on the album is “155.” Barker plays at a machine gun pace and intensity that is not even fathomed by other rock drummers and he is the main reason that the album –especially “155”– goes at a breakneck pace.
+44, even though they only have one album, have already gone through their share of member changes. It started off with Hoppus, Barker and Get the Girl’s Carol Heller. Heller only appears on one track (the unexpectedly beautiful “Make You Smile”) and left to spend more time with her family. Then they grabbed Craig Fairbaugh of Lars Fredrickson and the Bastards (Barker played with Fredrickson’s Rancid bandmate Tim Armstrong in The Transplants) and Shane Gallagher of The Nervous Return.
Even with all of that When Your Heart Stops Beating is an album that initially sounds like another generic rock album. But after a couple of listens you find yourself unconsciously singing along to every song. And before you know it, +44 becomes a staple in your CD player or Ipod.