Plain White Ts Parallel UniverseYou might remember Plain White T’s for 2007’s cutesiest love song, but put it behind you, because these Illinois boys have finally found their libidos.

This is the sexiest and sultriest throwdown since Sylvester’s Do You Wanna Funk (or at least 3Oh!3’s My First Kiss). Take second track Bonnie, where lead singer Tom Higgenson pines for the titular girl as she goes searching for drugs in a topless daze, scored by quasi-reggae bomp. The production of Parallel Universe rivals even Pharrell’s CV; there’s the homage to Justin Bieber’s Sorry on Call Me, the glitched-out party rock anthem I Should Be Dead, and the fearless Top Of The World which smashes ’70s guitars into a burbling drum machine, with Higgenson shouting, “She’s such a b-tch but she thinks I’m funny!”

On Bury Me they go country-EDM, perhaps paying tribute to recently deceased icon Avicii. On album closer End Of The World, Higgenson sings “I found Jesus the other day / He was eating hamburgers in a Chevrolet” – a biting commentary on religious capitalism and American excess.

In a parallel universe, Plain White T’s would be remembered as fondly as Hinder, Simple Plan, and the Ying Yang Twins as formative romantics of the ’00s. But given this record’s unapologetic sexual energy and inventive production, they could go down as this decade’s David Guetta.

Parallel Universe is out now via Fearless/Caroline.
Words | Chase Steadman

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