Weezer may be releasing their very first independent record with “Hurley,” but don’t count on the move marking any change in the quartet’s sound trajectory.
The Epitaph effort has is dummy rockers, electro rockers, jokey rockers, Serious singles and ballads essentially remade into rockers. The band won’t allow itself to drop below a certain midtempo BPM even once, and, as per usual, the mastering pummels every note an inch into your face, desensitizing the listener to any changes in sonic or subject matter.
Not that it matters. “Hurley” doesn’t really play like an album, just more like a collection of licenseable songs and a little something for the kids. It’s front-loaded with proof that Rivers Cuomo can still write the hell out of hook, like on the unwinking “Trainwrecks” and “Ruling Me,” which very well should be the second single after straight-forward “Memories.”
“Where’s My Sex?” is like a dirty children’s tune, akin to “The Cat Came Back” with dorky jokes about procreation. Cuomo extols “Smart Girls” with some awfully lazy rhyming schemes but also with a cute trickle of memorable lines. “Run Away,” the band’s collaboration with songwriter Ryan Adams, sadly loses steam mid-song, like dialing in a favor.
As Weezer’s older fans skim for any inkling that the band has another “Pinkerton” or even a “Maladroit,” in them, there may be some joy in “Hang On” and striking, vulnerable “Unspoken” (up until the dam breaks and the grinding guitars return to irritate your skin). Closer “Time Flies” interestingly features the sounds of clipped guitar and vocals, giving it a lo-fi calculated textures.
More songs with gang vocals, more of the 1-6-4-5, more tracks about girls and waxing nostaligic on the days when we were single. It’s not weird, or more pop or experimental, revolutionary, sensitive or off-beat. It’s just more of what we’ve come to expect.
“Hurley” is out tomorrow (Sept. 14). Listen to the album in its entirety here.
Click here to check out the band’s recent video for “Memories,” featuring the crew from “Jackass 3D.”
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