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  • Muzik First


It's been six years since the last LP, "Taking One For The Team" – Simple Plan makes their long-awaited return with their new album, "Harder Than It Looks," the Canadian pop punks’ first album without major label backing. The year 2022 may be more interested in those solo artists – Machine Gun Kelly, jxdn, YUNGBLUD – who blend the classic pop-punk sound with hip-hop and Gen Z-isms, but that’s not deterred the Montreal natives from sticking to what they do best: dishing out nostalgic pop-punk packed full of charm and heart. There’s plenty of emotion on Harder Than It Looks, something evidenced by world-weary opener "Wake Me Up (When This Nightmare’s Over)" and recent single "Ruin My Life" – which features Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley – and The Antidote. The latter is the pick of the bunch from the album at large, a song where Simple Plan raises the emotional stakes to their highest and delivers one of the best tracks to which the band has ever put their name. There’s plenty of fun to be had by way of fast-paced pop-punk ripper "Congratulations." At the same time, sports anthem in-the-making Iconic’s euphoric horns are just the right side of cheesy, but Simple Plan brings back the emotional tension for album closer "Two." A despairing ode to the damage divorce wreaks on families, the band’s answer to blink-182’s "Stay Together For The Kids" and a reminder that there’s far more to Simple Plan than the band who did Scooby-Doo soundtrack and That Song You’ve Heard On TikTok. "Harder Than It Looks" is a continuation of a band that’s stayed true to its sound. Simple Plan is aging gracefully, no longer writing songs about teenage angst and rebellion; instead of focusing on the better days to come.

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