Ever since The Beatles’ dark, sprawling, career-defining, culture-changing 1968 behemoth, it’s been a brave band indeed who’d produce a record their fans could refer to as ‘The White Album’. But to be fair, Weezer main man Rivers Cuomo has gone to Beatledelic lengths for his band’s 10th album.
He hung out with mystical teachers – well, Hare Krishnas – on Los Angeles’ Venice Beach. He experimented with compositional methods by meeting people in Santa Monica on Tinder to swap song ideas. And he delves into the depths of addiction: cranky chugger ‘Do You Wanna Get High?’ is about having seizures from snorting “blues” scored on a Mexican road trip, his own perky take on the Fab Four’s ‘I’m So Tired’ (sort of). For the most part, though, ‘Weezer’ is Cuomo’s 634th attempt to recapture the vivacity of his band’s 1994 debut and the savage rom-pop glory of its acclaimed cult follow-up ‘Pinkerton’, and with more success than usual.
Discarding the electronics of 2010’s ‘Hurley’ and the epic pretensions of 2014’s ‘Everything Will Be Alright In The End’, this is a 34-minute free run of sunny surf pop, exuding the euphoria of boho beach unity (‘California Kids’, ‘Summer Elaine And Drunk Dori’); summer lovin’ (the Ben Folds-y ‘Wind In Our Sail’; tambourine tapping ‘[Girl We Got A] Good Thing’); and unrequited love for bakery assistants (‘Thank God For Girls’).
It’s a fan-pleasing record that’s actually more Beach Boys than peak Beatles: ‘King Of The World’ and ‘LA Girlz’ are noble throwbacks to the quirky grunge of Weezer’s debut and Cuomo maintains his collegiate appeal by peppering consistently ultra-accessible melodies with references to Charles Darwin, the Torah, Lewis Carroll, Dante, the Creationist myth, Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy author Douglas Adams and spots of lady-celebrating Latin. Does this ‘White Album’ redefine rock? No. Does it define Weezer’s career? Absolutely.