Weezer, "Hurley" (Epitaph)
Weezer's latest album, "Hurley," is full of the same high-energy quirk rock that got the band to this point in their career. It's a passable release, but it firms up the notion that they have little interest in moving beyond their proven peppy formula.
A quiet intro, followed by a little Rivers Cuomo vocal groundwork and a buzz saw guitar attack and presto! you've just described nearly every Weezer song ever written. The thick-rimmed, alt-rock set gobbles them up, so why ruin a good thing on "Hurley"?
No reason to, evidently.
The first single off the album, "Memories," leans on a fondness for days gone by. "Playing hacky sack back when Audioslave was still Rage (Against the Machine)," Cuomo sings, yearning for the late 1990s and some sort of high-water mark of artistic ethos.
"Memories" is a good song and rightfully the single to put forth for radio consumption.
But it's middling from there. "Ruling Me" is a love song full of hackneyed phrasing and timeworn turns. "Trainwrecks" plods along with a staccato crunch of guitar as Cuomo sings of working through even the most strained of relationships.
"Where's My Sex" is also classic Weezer. It's a multi-paced strut of a song that switches speed gears halfway through, then switches back for no good reason other than it's Weezer, and they're playful like that.
"Hurley" works by Weezer's established standards, but barely. Mostly, it comes off like a Best of Weezer compilation, with all new material. You'll swear you've heard this before.
CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: On "Unspoken," Weezer gets out of their own way for a few minutes, opting for a minimalist acoustic approach at first. You can hear the band's abilities better as Cuomo croons, before giving way to an electrifying conclusion as the machines get plugged in and the energy ramped up and the Weezer machine grinds on.