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Plus-44 sounds a bit like Blink

Former Blink members created a new band called +44 (Plus-44).
Former Blink members created a new band called +44 (Plus-44).
Estevan Oriol, Interscope

When Blink-182 announced in February 2005 that the band was going on "indefinite hiatus," most fans rightly translated that as "We're done."

A few months later, Tom DeLonge unveiled his new band, Angels and Airwaves, while fellow Blink bandmates Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker remained quiet. Now, the other two-thirds of Blink are quiet no longer with the release of their new album "When Your Heart Starts Beating," from their new band +44 (Plus-44, which comes from the international dialing code for Great Britain).

The album (which is better than DeLonge's project) should please Blink fans with its pop-punk sound. But the album is also fuller, with more guitars and even synth-drum beats. It also includes some of Hoppus' best lyrics.

Salt Lake City was originally scheduled as one of the first stops on +44's first tour, but then Barker fractured his arm in several places. Blink fans will remember that during the band's last Salt Lake show, Barker played drums with a cast over his broken foot and had to be wheeled in a chair to his drum kit.

The +44 tour finally kicked off in Florida earlier this month, with Barker not completely healed but still managing to play with one arm. "The tour is going amazing," said guitarist Craig Fairbaugh, who, along with Shane Gallagher, makes up the rest of +44.

Fairbaugh knew Barker from their days playing together in the Transplants. "I just got an e-mail one day," Fairbaugh said by phone from a tour stop in Chicago. "Travis and Mark were starting a new band. They asked me to audition, and, after three or four hours of playing, they asked me if I wanted the job."

Although parts of +44 were naturally going to sound like Blink, Fairbaugh said it was never the goal to create a Blink Part II. Likewise, the band expected a core group of Blink fans to carry over to the new band, for which they're thankful.

But now, says Fairbaugh, they're seeing a number of fans at shows who were maybe lukewarm to Blink and like +44 on its own merits.

As for Blink fans who are wondering if any of that old material will be played at Plus-44's show, Fairbaugh said don't count on it. "That's kind of hokey. That just seems kind of desperate. It's like saying, 'Our songs aren't good enough."'

If you go

What: +44

Where: In the Venue, 219 S. 600 West

When: Thursday, 7 p.m.

How much: $20

Phone: 467-8499 or 800-888-8499