Plain White T’s – American Nights review

Few bands need no introduction, but somehow since their groundbreaking release of Hey There Delilah, becoming a multi-platinum selling artist and being nominated for a Grammy, it rather feels like Plain White T’s don’t need one. In their first independent release in fourteen years, the band have had more freedom to do what they’ve wished, as frontman Tom Higgenson explains; “we weren’t worried about doing too many acoustic songs or too many rock songs. We just wanted to do the ones that told our story. We wanted to be honest, because that’s always been what’s connected us the most to our fans.”

Crowdfunded via PledgeMusic, the release is also their most collaborative to date, with three of the band members contributing songs to the record. The eleven track offering will be released in the UK on April 28th.

Alongside their award collection they already have, Plain White T’s deserve some kind of commendation for best sound and title match – the album’s opening title track, American Nights sounds exactly like it was originally formed around a campfire and was built up from there. Sing along “whoa oh oh”s make the song addictive, with echoes of their well known Our Time Now running through.

It’s easy to see why Pause, which you can listen to below, was chosen for release ahead of the album. Despite the uplifting beat, there’s a mellowed out sound which accompanies lyrics, telling of the vitality of not rushing life and spending time with those who matter. It’s a sentimental, nostalgic anthem wrapped up with with a single vibe making it the sort of track that demands a road trip in a campervan, on an empty road with open windows.

With it’s continuous sound and deadpan lyrical focus, Never Working feels more like an extended interlude than a track in its own right, once again matching the lyrics to the sound with a heavy, lethargic pace. In contrast, snappy, catchy and fun, Heavy Rotation is dying to be released as a single – another summer anthem, Plain White T’s shows they aren’t lost to their pop sensibilities with percussion that inspires you to dance and instrumental constructed so well there’s no room for doubt as to their success.

The soppy sentimentality seen on their debut album in Making A Memory matches up with hints of the backing of Hate (I Really Don’t Like You) to form Stay, with a heart-on-sleeve attitude that continues into You Belong. This number proves to be even more acoustic than is usual from the band, still driven by the distinctive percussion and relaxed, romantic vibe.

Though Dance Off-Time speaks retrospectively of “back when we were young”, they once again manage to create a track filled with the teenage lust-mistaken-for-love. Listen to this song without tapping your foot along to the beat – I dare you. Boisterous and confident Someday You’re Gonna Love Me is bound to be a fan favourite, soaring vocals fuelled with optimism powering over the instrumental, before the record slows down once again for Love Again, openly romantic and downright cute, storytelling of a relationship.

If you imagine that Science & Faith era The Script did optimistic tracks, you’d have nailed the mood of penultimate Time To Move On. Frank and honest, this is very probably the most level headed post break-up song there is, keeping up the optimism they’re doing to well to carry through the record; and what better way to close the album than on Here Come That Sunrise – it does what it says on the tin with a positive summer vibe once again.

This is an album that’s been well worth the wait, and every fan that’s pledged to support the project will be more that satisfied with the result. Plain White T’s have got what they always had, and American Nights is sure to grip the world yet again.

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