Welcome to the latest edition of KNEEJERK, where we preview some new releases and give our short, "kneejerk" reaction...
Weezer is back with “Hurley”, which finds the prolific band revisiting the classic hooks of their more successful records. Fuzzy and crunchy guitars intermix around the band’s characteristic pop rock sound, making most of “Hurley” a worthy addition to the Weezer discography. Wonderfully upbeat and catchy tracks like “Memories”, “Ruling Me”, and “Trainwrecks” perk you up right away. Famed songwriter Desmond Child contributes to “Trainwrecks”, elevating this track to being one of the most commercial sounding on the record. The band lay their limitations bare on sparse acoustic tracks like “Unspoken”, but quickly cover them up with heavy riffs and sugary choruses like those on “Where’s My Sex?”. “Smart Girls” is a crazy dance-inspired track that provides a generous dose of the quirky lyrics and indie rock that we’ve come to expect. “Hang On” and “Brave New World” are also welcome invites to this high energy 30 minute party hosted by Weezer. As you can see, I found a lot of redeeming qualities about “Hurley”, and it is one of their most consistently fun releases in years.
Anberlin “Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place”
Anberlin seems to be getting better and better with each release, realizing that in order to put a sustained mark on the musical landscape that you need more than heavy riffage and powerhouse vocals. Anberlin is poised for a major breakthrough with their latest record, which puts their talent to good use by writing memorable melodies and harmonies. The records rushes out of the gate with indisputable winners like the radio-friendly lead single “Impossible”, energetic cuts like “We Owe This To Ourselves”, “Closer”, and “To The Wolves”, and a crowd pleasing midtempo ballad, “Take Me (As You Found Me)”. What darkens my cheer about this record is the abundance of slower, less compelling tracks in the middle and at the very end. But, there are more winners than losers on this one, and the winners are truly some of the band’s best to date.