It’s okay Weezer fans, you can breathe that huge sigh of relief…Hurley is good. In fact, it’s even better than that.
This is the third album that they have released in three years; 2008’s Red Album had a few high points, but it was ultimately disappointing, whilst 2009’s Raditude was simply very poor. Its not that those who worship lead singer Rivers Cuomo dont want progression, because they do, its just that Weezer strayed so far from the insanely catchy, raw and witty heights of Blue and Pinkerton that after some pretty poor records, all anyone ever wanted was something reminiscent of what they used to be. This record very nearly strikes that balalnce between old and new.
Weezer have always had a sense of humour and you dont even have to listen to the record to realise this us still the case with Hurley: the art work for the album is brilliant – if not a little weird (but in a good way). Opener and lead single ‘Memories’ is such a raucoous and brilliant ode to the 90’s that is seemed completely genuine and slotted in perfectly to their recent barnstorming set at Reading (always a good sign), where Cuomo stole the show. Next up is ‘Ruling Me’, another fast paced peice of pop rock that is still hugely enjoyable after multiple listens. Not bad for a band that wrong ‘Can’t Stop Partying’, which is probably up there with any Jedward performance as one of the most hideously awful moments in musical history.
‘Unspoken’, ‘Hang on’ and ‘Smart Girls’ are standout tracks of this record; they showcase everything that made Weezer brilliant in the first place: wit, honesty, charm, and an ear for unforgetable timeless hooks. ‘Hang On’ is particularly awesome, featuring actor Michael Cera on back-up vocals/guitar, I cant think of another song so far this year that tops it.
This said, Hurley isn’t perfect, and there are a few dud tracks – ‘Trainwrecks’ and ‘Brave New World’ are pretty bland. You get the feeling that they may not have been on the album if Weezer weren’t so intent on putting the album out as quickly as they could. ‘Where’s my Sex?’ is amusing the first time round, but then starts to drag. These tracks aside, this record is a return to form that should be savoured. There’s no knowing what they’ll do next, but Hurley is definitely a huge step in the right direction.