Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rooney album review

(California Dreaming/WMG)
Grade: B+

Rooney should be as big as onetime tour and label mate Weezer. The Los Angeles-based band first emerged in 2003. It consistently crafts hook-filled, sing along power pop/rock tunes and makes albums devoid of filler (which can’t always be said of Rivers Cuomo and company).

Third effort Eureka – their follow up to 2007’s solid Calling the World and first on an indie label – is equally impressive. Handled entirely in house, the quartet didn’t scrimp on production values. They sound more mature here, but no less fun.

Groove-laden first single and surefire hit “I Can’t Get Enough” is about infatuation with a lady who’s playing hard to get (“I tell you yes, you tell me no/I ask you why, you never let me know”).

Front man and occasional actor Robert Schwartzman ("The Princess Diaries," "The Virgin Suicides") channels early Tom Petty on the breezy “Holdin’ On” - an autobiographical tune describing the uncertainty of a music career music and the patience required.

Drummer Ned Brower (also an actor, who appeared in a few episodes of TV’s “Dawson’s Creek”) gets his turn in the vocal spotlight on the punchy, horn-laden rave up “The Hunch.”

Standouts include “All or Nothing,” which glides by on a fizzy, synth happy retro plane, the sardonic “Only Friend” (key lyric: “Nothing’s free/You can pray all night, but they’ll take their fee”), peace and love sentiments in the smooth, soulful “Stars and Stripes” and syncopated Billy Joel-styled “Don’t Look at Me.”

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