Album review

Weezer : Maladroit

Weezer : MaladroitY'know, a lot of our CD reviews - and those of other publications - seem to concentrate on the first few songs of an album, and then rush through the rest of it. Maybe it's the constraints of time on the reviewer, maybe it's just that the disc fails to inspire the listener, but this certainly seems to be the case.
    However, Weezer's fourth album Maladroit is perfectly structured for this kind of review, so in this instance I make no apologies for virtually ignoring everything after track four. Read on and it will all become clear . . .

American Gigolo kicks things off in typical Weezer style. They abandoned the tidy surf-pop of Buddy Holly and Say It Ain't So years ago, and 21st century Weezer wrap the songs in big sloppy guitar riffs and purposefully demo-like self-production. Following this formula, American Gigolo underlines the fact that main-man Rivers Cuomo does things on his own terms nowadays.
    First single Dope Nose follows closely . . . and no, I've no idea what it's about either. No doubt it'll be something sinister concealed in a summery garage-rock coating. Weezer just give off an air of wilful subversiveness - just check out Rivers' new beard; highly suspect.
    Keep Fishin' is another fine effort, and ranks up there with the best songs Weezer have ever recorded; simple, effective and incredibly catchy.
    The same could be said of Take Control, which takes a backwards step towards the Weezer of old. A harmony-filled chorus is probably the most obvious link, but the mix of an upbeat pace and melancholy lyrics is something Weezer pioneered many years ago, and Take Control is a fine example.

Now don't get the idea that the rest of Maladroit is not worth your time. It's just that in comparison to the excellent opening quartet, the remaining songs seem weak. Death And Destruction drops the pace, and initially it really does seem like a divider between the truly great and the merely okay.
    However, a bit of perseverance with Maladroit will make you realise that songs such as Slave, Possibilities and Love Explosion are actually very good, just not as easy on the ear as the likes of the fairly instant Keep Fishin'.
    So go out and buy it, listen to it, and keep a rein on your initial disappointment until you've lived with it for a few weeks. Nobody rated Weezer's second album Pinkerton when it came out, but it's now held up as a blueprint for the emo scene. Don't be fooled twice.

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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