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The Rentals / Lost in Alphaville
Жанр: Indie, Alternative
Год издания: 2014
Тип рипа: tracks
Битрейт аудио: 320 kbps
01 - It's Time to Come Home.
02 - Traces of Our Tears.
03 - Stardust.
04 - 1000 Seasons.
05 - Damaris.
06 - Irrational Things.
07 - Thought of Sound.
08 - Song of Remembering.
09 - Seven Years.
10 - The Future.
Об альбоме (сборнике)Rock bands inevitably get old and start to suck, but Weezer are an exceptional case of this. It’s not as if, since resurfacing from their post-Pinkerton hiatus back in 2001, they gradually turned into a less interesting, more pedestrian version of their younger selves (a la the Rolling Stones). They’ve intentionally become a total, aggressive affront to them, as if their entire post-millennial career has been one extended, James Franco-worthy performance-art stunt in baiting anyone whoever took them seriously. It’s hard to think of another band that has so eagerly created such a chasm between what they first presented themselves to be (in Weezer’s case, a Pavement that could sell records) and what they turned out to be (a Smash Mouth that sold even more). And that cognitive dissonance is weighing on the hearts and minds of old-school fans all the more heavily this year, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Blue Album while bracing for the next inevitably disappointing chapter in the history of a band that long ago stopped writing great songs in favor of writing dumb songs about writing great songs.
It may be a complete coincidence that Matt Sharp is dropping his first proper Rentals album in 15 years smack dab in the middle of this fray, but it’s a welcome thrown-bone nonetheless for those who were first drawn to Weezer for their winsome underdog charm (which got pissed away forevermore sometime during the first talkbox solo on “Beverly Hills”). It’s hard to say if Sharp was solely responsible for the enduring greatness of Weezer’s first two albums (though he has taken the band to court to essentially prove as much), but it’s no exaggeration to suggest they were never the same after he left in ’98. And where his solo vehicle the Rentals first surfaced as Weezer’s skinny-tied alter-ego—with breakout single “Friends of P” piggybacking on The Blue Album’s MTV momentum—it has since come to signify their complete anti-thesis: a sly psych-pop outfit that, despite an evermore ambitious scope and consistency of vision, remains humble and easily approachable in demeanor.
The Rentals have always been an opportunity for Sharp to play fantasy camp with a rotating cast of players, whether presenting the band as Cold War-relic Soviet tech-pop technicians on 1995’s debut/faux-comeback Return of the Rentals, or rounding up a leisure cruise of Britpop all-stars for 1999’s Seven More Minutes. However, Lost in Alphaville follows an extended, and only sporadically productive period of hibernation, marked by a somber country-rock-inspired song cycle issued under his own name in 2004 and a collection of ambient, piano-based instrumentals released as the Rentals in 2011 to benefit victims of the Tohoku earthquake and tsumani (but, understandably, wholly lacking in the sugar-buzzed pop generally associated with the brand). So when Sharp sings “it’s time to come home” on Lost In Alphaville’s splendorous opener of the same name, he’s not just setting some nostalgic childhood scene of moms summoning their kids for supper—the synth swirls, morse-code melodic tics, and fuzz-covered chug practically serve as beacons for Sharp himself to return to his comfort zone.
Once again, Lost in Alphaville reveals Sharp’s strengths as a casting director: moonlighting Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney lends the retooled Rentals some heretofore unrealized heft, while Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of honky-tonk harmony outfit Lucius capably provide the “oohs” and “ahhs” once supplied by everyone from that dog’s Rachel and Petra Haden to a pre-SNL Maya Rudolph. With the sunbeamed pop highs of “Traces of Our Tears” and “1000 Seasons”, Lost in Alphaville essentially plays like Return of the Return of the Rentals, and the glammed-up “Stardust” even winks in the direction of the Rentals’ biggest single while acknowledging the scourge of one-hit-wonderdom (“Once, I had a friend/ A short-term friend/ But now she’s gone”). But all this retro-gazing isn’t just some convenient ploy to reintroduce this band to a ’90s-nostalgic marketplace; as Sharp has admitted, Lost in Alphaville was inspired by a return to the Barcelona locale that informed the hedonistic narratives of Seven More Minutes and, as such, is the most pensive, sobering album in the Rentals’ canon, establishing a tension between the band’s gleaming futurist fantasias and a festering, dreams-unfulfilled ennui.
Accordingly, Sharp’s voice has turned less assertive, more conversational with age, not so much a singer anymore as a sigher. But while he wisely defers to Wolfe and Laessig to deliver the album’s biggest hooks, his unwavering wistfulness still has a way of flattening out Lost in Alphaville’s emotional terrain and lending the album a steady-to-a-fault temperament, to the point where there’s little difference in impact between a downcast new-waved ballad like “Damaris” and an orchestro-rock gallop like “Irrational Things” (which imagines an alternate universe where Mercury Rev scored the Peach Pit After Dark gig on “90210″ instead of the Flaming Lips). Fortunately, the album’s closer, “The Future”, proves to be something more than just another sci-fi-themed spin on the Rentals’ patented robo-rock. Breaking down his usual schematic into a flurry of backward loop effects, propellered percussion, and Dirty Projections-style vocal acrobatics, the track sees Sharp capping off an album that’s very much about looking back—upon his life and his band’s past sonic signatures—with a bold step into the unknown.
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