14 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

On Wonders of the Younger, Plain White T’s resist the cynicism of the modern age with a batch of idealistic tunes about love, nostalgia and eternal youth. After a foray into louder sonic terrain, the Chicago punk-pop outfit returns to the acoustic approach that made 2006’s “Hey There Delilah” such a refreshing hit. Buoyant melodies rendered in a minor key lend “Broken Record,” “Killer” and “Map of the World” a nicely bittersweet flavor. Lead singer Tom Higgenson’s enthusiastic, slightly wistful delivery infuses both giddy love tunes like “Boomerang” and weirder excursions like “Cirque dans la rue” with a palpable, genuine joy. Guitarist Tim Lopez turns in a sunny lead vocal on “Rhythm of Love,” a loping slice of good vibes with a Jason Mraz-like feel. The odd lyrics twists within “Body Parts” balance the flat-out romantic declarations of “Our Song.” Plain White T’s manage to pull all of this off without becoming cute or contrived thanks to strong tunes, crisp playing and a clear sense of identity.

EDITORS’ NOTES

On Wonders of the Younger, Plain White T’s resist the cynicism of the modern age with a batch of idealistic tunes about love, nostalgia and eternal youth. After a foray into louder sonic terrain, the Chicago punk-pop outfit returns to the acoustic approach that made 2006’s “Hey There Delilah” such a refreshing hit. Buoyant melodies rendered in a minor key lend “Broken Record,” “Killer” and “Map of the World” a nicely bittersweet flavor. Lead singer Tom Higgenson’s enthusiastic, slightly wistful delivery infuses both giddy love tunes like “Boomerang” and weirder excursions like “Cirque dans la rue” with a palpable, genuine joy. Guitarist Tim Lopez turns in a sunny lead vocal on “Rhythm of Love,” a loping slice of good vibes with a Jason Mraz-like feel. The odd lyrics twists within “Body Parts” balance the flat-out romantic declarations of “Our Song.” Plain White T’s manage to pull all of this off without becoming cute or contrived thanks to strong tunes, crisp playing and a clear sense of identity.

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