Whenever someone asks if I like Weezer, I don’t really know what to say. The short answer is, “Yes, of course I do.” The Blue Album is completely impossible to dislike and Pinkerton is a great change of pace, showing the bands ability to expand on the brilliance of their debut album without jumping the shark. After that is the disconnect for me. I would preferably avoid anything else after that. All other Weezer offerings feature diabolically bad lyrics with tiresome beats that frankly, I’d love to simply forget. So when Matt Sharp split with the garage pop act and formed The Rentals, I hoped he’d keep the crux of what made Weezer great. Initially, he came close but still missed the mark, but now, 19 years after the beginning of The Rentals, Sharp & co. have finally put it all together.
Sharp enlists the help of members of the Black Keys, Ozma and Lucious this time around and the impact these musicians had on Lost In Alphaville cannot be understated. Previous Rentals albums were missing elements that kept you wanting more. This time around, the blend of the keyboards and fuzzy guitars mesh perfectly with rhythmic drums to perfection.
“Seven Years” and “1000 Seasons” are simple, karaoke-ready jams that easily stride along. The moog is what really gives these songs their distinction. While the songs might work without it, it really gives it the extra panache to set them apart. It’s not all spoon-fed though. “Damaris” gets futuristic and airy with just enough grounding to keep it all together, while “Thoughtful Sound” brings together a cohesive rock blend of pop and garage rock that echoes and booms.
Lost In Alphaville isn’t flawless. The Rentals could shed a couple forgettable tracks. “Irrational Things” falls into the trap of godawful lyrics, conjuring up memories of Rivers Cuomo blurting out about his hash pipe while “Song of Remembering” sounds nearly identical to the song that precedes it. That being said, the album as a whole doesn’t stray far and often and The Rentals are at their best adding just enough spice to their palatable formula. It’s enough to satiate the OG Weezer fans of the world, teasing the “what if” they had stayed the course instead of falling fast. Lost In Alphaville stands up on its own merits, but is also worth a flyer for those unable to connect with more recent Weezer offerings.