Emo Grows Up

When Your Heart Stops Beating (Interscope Records)
+44

By Kory Wilcoxson

If +44 reminds you a little of Blink 182, they should. Two of its members - Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus - are former Blinkers (the third, Tom DeLonge, has already dropped an album with his new band, Angels and Airwaves). Comparisons to Blink 182 are inevitable; that band defined the emo sound and cleared the way for dozens of copycat number-named bands to follow (anyone remember Sum 41? Didn't think so).

+44 continues the tradition of number names and pop-punk precision. While turned down a notch from the Blink 182 sound, +44 still shreds through songs like "Lycanthrope" and "155" at breakneck speed. What sets them apart is the requisite maturation that Hoppus and Barker have gone through. Gone are the booger-picking teen angst songs, replaced with more pensive tracks like "Little Death" and "Weatherman." The good news is that growing up hasn't put a damper on their ability to write catchy, up-tempo songs.

You could read into the lyrics of "No, It Isn't" ("This isn't just goodbye/this is I can't stand you") a proper bird-flipping in DeLonge's direction, but Hoppus and Barker truly seem to musically have moved on. When Your Heart Starts Beating is definite progress in the right direction.