“When Your Heart Stops Beating”

Grade: B+

What Dave Thinks:

Points to Mark Hoppus and the +44 company for trying to grow up a bit on the group’s debut “When Your Heart Stops Beating.”

They do an admirable job of trying to run from the shadow of Blink 182, from which half of the band is on hiatus.

Now Hoppus, solely consigned to bass and vocals, tackles mortality (“Little Death”) and troubled relationships (the title track) with an added complexity he and Blink 182 hinted at as their career drew out.

Crying soul or not, much of the music itself on the album is undeniably catchy.

The riffs are simple and there are clever double-tracked vocals abound (though more than a few disastrously effects-laden ones, too).

A second guitar or keyboard here and there usually helps.

But points were given for trying, not succeeding.

The music has grown up a bit, but the lyrics, well, haven’t quite yet.

There are lines everywhere like “please understand/this isn’t just goodbye/this is I can’t stand you” (“No It Isn’t,” supposedly a shot to Blink-mate Tom DeLonge) and “she said I think we’re running out of alcohol/tonight I hate this f– town/and all my best friends will be the death of me” (“Baby, Come On”).

Those might fly for the high school crowd, but for a (supposedly) worldly, experienced collegiate it doesn’t quite ring true.

Yet strangely it doesn’t seem to matter.

The music will still keep heads bouncing, even if you have to sheepishly look away when someone asks what’s in your CD player.

Dave Herrera