Plain White T's plan 'universal' new album

Tom Higgenson alludes to '50s, '60s songwriting

CLEVELAND -- "All-inclusive" is how Plain White T's singer Tom Higgenson describes the band's new studio album, "Big Bad World," due Sept. 23 via Hollywood Records.

"I don't want to use the word 'mature' because I don't think it's about maturing, but it's a more universal Plain White T's album," Higgenson said. "A lot of our songs in the past were straight-up distorted guitars, up-tempo drums and a lot of that punk we grew up with. Not that we lost that, but I think we played that down with this record.

"We tried to make more of a record that an adult can pick up and love track-for-track, the same as a teenager could or even a younger kid could," he continues. "We tried to make it with a little less boundaries and more open for anyone's ears."

Among the new tracks of note are the dance-y rock song "Natural Disaster" and the acoustic and tentatively titled "1, 2, 3, 4." The former could be the lead single, while Higgenson describes the latter as being the new album's "Hey There Delilah," the hit that launched the band to crossover success last year.

There's also the heavily orchestrated "Serious Mistake," which features an "Eleanor Rigby"-like vibe containing a horn and string section, as well as a bass clarinet and melodica.

"It definitely doesn't sound too much like any of our peers as much as our last album or last few albums have," Higgenson said. "I think this will stand alone stylistically and is kind of in a way a songwriting celebration from the '50s and '60s."

The Chicago band plans on going to Europe next month before returning stateside for the album release and a fall tour opening for a major act to be announced. The group's first headlining jaunt in support of "Big Bad World" is due in late 2008 or early 2009.

"I think everyone is feeling a lot more (confident) than usual," Higgenson said. "With this album, the whole band is standing behind every one of the songs a lot more than they have before."