Bursting from Illinois back in 2006, Plain White T's were able to garner a huge cult following after their huge hit single Hey There Delilah. Now, attempting to prove that they aren't a one hit wonder, the boys are back with Wonders of the Younger. Whilst, technically, this is actually their 6th album, it's the second time they have hit our shores. Establishing a more gentle and experimental record than their previous offerings, this is a radical new sound for the band.
Sticking within the rock-alternative genre, the Plain White T's are able to successfully reach the genre's extremes from Californian acoustic to heavy rock anthems. The album kicks off in fashionable style with the teenage angst Irrational Anthem; a great loud start to the LP. Whilst creating a Californian funk sound, the battle drums also establish an anthemic sound that is sure to go down well in festivals across the country next summer. Similarly, Rhythm of Love, the first single off this album, is an acoustic Jason Mraz-esque offering that is, again, reminiscent of that relaxed West Coast sound. Whilst the beautiful lyrics complement the song perfectly, a cynic may argue that this is a bit of an attempt to jump on the popular 'acoustic-folk' bandwagon that has been dominating the charts worldwide recently.
The band continues with creating great pop songs, which is typical of their sound. Broken Record is a very catchy track that has subtle influences from the 60s. Lead singer Tom Higgenson states that his past lover is 'stuck in my head like a broken record'; the same can be said about the track ironically. Going back to their roots, Last Breath is a beautiful ballad that may possibly be the best track off the LP. Combing very successfully the classical with rock, the track harbours a great orchestration instrumental; reminding us exactly what this band is best at doing.
This doesn't mean that the Plain White T's are a one trick pony, the band experiment greatly from the fantastical to the jazzy. On the whimsical Welcome to Mystery, which was used on the recent Alice in Wonderland soundtrack, the band adopts a new alternative sound which is nice to see. The standout track off the album, Cirque dans la Rue, is a very cleverly made and original song that combines the stereotypical carnival 'freakshow' staple with a heavy rock rift. This song alone makes the filler tracks such as Airplane and Killer seems worth getting through. However, these few tracks do slow the pace of the album. Map of the World, whilst it has a great jazz band mourning an epitaph at the end it reveals the band's attempts to experiment as an average track. Other tracks such as Our Song and Boomerang reveal the great melodies this band can produce but the lyrics exemplify how sometimes the Plain White T's can come across quite cheesy and immature. Putting these faults aside, however, the band's attempts to grow and mature are obvious on this record.
This album is a very fun and easy listen. Combining their original sounds with a tendency to experiment across various genres has resulted in a great outing by this band. Let's just hope that they're still not seen as that band with that 'one' song. Plastering a carnival across the album cover, this is certainly a show you'll want tickets for.
4.5 / 5