Somewhere between the big and small (cue the welcome to new
indie sponsor, Epitaph) and the Pinkerton and Raditude of it all, Rivers Cuomo
and company found their bliss by naming this mega-melodic raw boney new album
after a Lost character and avoiding
(most of) the cloying Technicolor danz-rock pitfalls of their last album. It’s
still a big sounding thing with its most audaciously commercial slate of
collaborators but its heart pulls you closer to whatever intimacy is intended, Cuomo’s
sense of jittery nostalgia in full emotional (mood) swing with “Memories” as it
is through much of this new thing.
When he isn’t joking about drunken fans and the
Audioslave/Rage Against the Machine conundrum, there’s a cut such as “Smart
Girls” where Cuomo is yearning for bright unknowable wonders – a claim he’s
made on countless previous Weezer efforts. While the arching harmonies and curt
guitars of “Ruling Me” (written with Dan Wilson of Semisonic) seems culled from
past recordings of theirs (never a bad thing), “Unspoken” sounds tender and
brightly alive in an insular fashion we’re not always used to with recent
Rivers Weezer recordings. That gawkardness fills the bell-toned “Trainwrecks”
and the piano-pleading “Run Away” (co-written with Ryan Adams) ever-so sweetly.
While the wide “Brave New World” benefits from co-author Linda
Perry’s grand emotive scales, Cuomo’s pairing with Mac Davis on the ringing
“Time Flies” finds the Weezer-ine at the foot of a master not unlike the
More please. Hurley isn’t perfect (“Where’s My Sex”), but it’s a cool rummage through an old closet
where Weezer happened to find a few things they’ve never quite tried on.
“Run Away,” “Hang On” A.D. AMOROSI