Hurley doesn’t arrive for another couple weeks (Sept. 14th), but Epitaph Records, Weezer’s new indie-label home, gave critics a sneak preview today.
Coming from someone who didn’t like even the “Green” album, Hurley feels like a natural successor to their second album, 1997’s Pinkerton. Despite an exacting production job by Rivers Cuomo and Shawn Everett, the guitars feel dirtier and you can actually hear the bass-guitar strings on “Memories,” “Ruling Me,” and “Where’s My Sex.” “Sex,” in more ways than just the title, recalls Pinkerton opener “Tired Of Sex” and tinny guitar squeals and surging keyboard harmonies. For the first time in awhile, Cuomo sounds like he wants to have fun with his audience, instead of poking fun at it.
Before we go canonizing anyone, however, the figurative sides A and B are Jekyll and Hyde. The songwriting falters (see the limp “Run Away,” co-written by Ryan Adams), and the band’s dependency on formula proves stifling. “Hang On” feels like a mailed-in submission for radio-rock’s early Springsteen sweepstakes, with the weakest lyrics of their career. “Smart Girls” could be a Fall Out Boy b-side before “Brave New World” comes correct and “Time Flies” marries Neutral Milk Hotel to The Dodos.
– Steve Forstneger
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