I guess you can't blame me for approaching a pop-punk album with a certain amount of trepidation, what with so many clones, reruns, and Warped Tour wannabes running amok. True, there is a small contingent who are taking their cues from thoroughly respectable innovators like the Buzzcocks, Descendents, and of course the Ramones, but when it comes to "popcore" revivalism, we don't see many current bands offering a grateful wink and a nod to the likes of the Doughboys, Punchbuggy and Big Drill Car. Be it a deliberate gesture on their part or not, Toronto's Hangtime strike me as four gents catering to that very niche I speak of - and they sound like they're having a flabbergastingly great time at it to boot. On Plug In, this exemplary quartet pummel through thirteen saccharine avalanches of overwhelming, power-chord splendor, infusing more melody into any given song than lesser bands can hope to eek out over the course of an entire album. If I had to sweat it down to one suspect whom Hangtime sound like they should be spending spending some serious "hangtime" with (couldn't resist, sorry) I'd put my money on All Systems Go! a now defunct spinoff band featuring all-stars from the aforementioned Doughboys and Big Drill Car. Inspirational inclinations aside, Plug In is a barreling powder keg of fun, sincerity and guts, of which you can sample "Sycamore St." and "Locomotion" below. It's available digitally through the usual suspects: iTunes, Emusic, and Amazon, and you can get the CD from Interpunk.
I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Hangtime's Warren and Rick are alumni of Shortfall, a likeminded precursor that I've featured in a previous entry. Check their long out of print Hooray for Everything disk here.