It feels like almost a lifetime ago since Simple Plan were the toast of the recently adolescent set, with their highly nonthreatening brand of teen angst providing the perfect soundtrack to forgetting your locker combination or accidentally ordering the wrong-sized drink at Starbucks. But with lead singer Pierre Bouvier and his fellow Quebecois bandmates now in their early 30s, it’s time for the Plan to leave those days of self-pity and nagging doubt behind, and focus on what’s really important in life—hanging out with Rivers Cuomo and ripping the intro to Tom Petty’s “American Girl.”
Despite the group’s new-found maturity, the Plan’s new single, “Can’t Keep My Hands Off You” (off a still-untitled album to follow) sees the band still displaying the energy of a group of Disney-approved ‘tweeners. A jaunty, effervescent number with Boys Like Girls-esque “oh-oh” backing vocals and Blink-182-sounding guitars, “Hands” would probably sound right at home in the soundtrack to the next American Pie movie (Reunion starts filming in two months!!). The song’s youthful sound can likely be at least partly attributed to its association with the Peter Pan of alternative rock, Weezer lead singer Rivers Cuomo, who sings the song’s second verse in his traditionally unnecessarily detailed lyrical style (“There’s fungus growing in the icebox / There’s nothing left but Fruit Roll-Ups”).
The final product is close to being the NKOTBSB of pop-punk, but somehow it comes off as celebratory and fun than tired or depressing. Blame those relentlessly catchy “oh-oh”s and that irrepressible “American Girl” intro, I guess—the latter’s rescued songs a lot drabber than this over the course of the last 35 years.