There are some bands that are born to experiment, to push the boundaries, to seek out new and bizarre sounds and to sail uncharted waters . They’re the kind of bands that have you awaiting their new records with baited breath to see which strange and exciting new direction they have gone in this time.
Then there are the bands that you want never to change. The bands that are so perfect for what they do that you just want them to continue down that road and let them take you along for the ride while they learn to master their trade.
Goliath rock band Weezer most certainly fall into the latter category. They have been foraging in the punk-pop forest for what seems like forever and the fruits of their labour have been, for the most part, pretty fucking sweet.
So as they release Hurley – their 8th studio album – it will come as a surprise to no-one that it is essentially a punk-pop record.
Not just that though. Hurley is an enormous album, packed with hit after hit after hit. It is a monster of a record.
Starting as it means to go on ‘Memories’ is a ridiculously catchy song. It has all the trademarks of a Weezer classic, palm muted guitars, humorous lyrics and a typical Rivers Cuomo enormo-chorus. As the title suggests it is a nostalgia ride which sees Cuomo sing of days he wish he could revisit. It is a fast paced, brash and rapturous start the record.
‘Ruling Me’ follows suit and sees the effervescent teenage geek that lives within Cuomo make the first of many appearances “We first met in the lunch room / my ocular nerve went pop-zoom” he sings over distorted guitars. ‘Trainwrecks’ too is wonderfully youthful and rebellious and serves as a reminder that you don’t always lose the passion and attitude with age and experience “We’re still kicking ass, we are train-wrecks” growls Cuomo over a sound-scape of pounding drums and, yep – you guessed it – palm muted guitars.
‘Where’s My Sex?’ is as ridiculous as the title suggests. It is a joyous riot of a song and even includes a middle 8 that sounds like Green Day doing Blur‘s ‘Park Life’. Really.
‘Smart Girls’ is another monster of a pop song which will remain in your head for days after just one listen.
Closer ‘Time Flies’ finds the band in a more reflective frame of mind. It is morose and melancholic and mostly acoustic. It still somehow manages to be as catchy as hell, though. It is the only song here that seems to indicate that Weezer are aware that they are no longer as invincible as carefree teenagers “Some sad day they’ll be taking me away but I won’t be dead. Because even when I’m gone this stupid damn song will be in your head.”
If you spend a little more of your hard earned cash and buy the deluxe edition of this album then as well as all of the beauty and buoyant fun on the regular edition you get a handful of extras including a redundant but oddly charming live version of Coldplay‘s ‘Viva La Vida’.
If you had never heard of them before and stumbled upon this record, you could be forgiven for thinking it was the debut by a band of fresh faced teenagers eager and excited for the journey ahead.
The evergreen Weezer still sound as fresh, exciting and vital as ever. Practically every song on this record could be a single and it is not often you can say that of a bands 8th record. That said, if you are not a fan of Weezer and have never enjoyed much of what they have done, then you will not find anything here to change your opinion – except maybe the Coldplay cover. For those of you that are already disciples of this band, however, strap yourself in and enjoy yet another fun filled ride.