Weezer- Pacific Daydream (Warners)

Chief songwriter Rivers Cuomo has always had an amazing ear for good melodic hooks. Sometimes these hooks are covered in the bands trademark mix of fuzzed guitar and high harmony vocals and sometimes they are dipped in nothing but pure pop. Pacific Daydream is definitely double dipped in pop and may in fact be their biggest reach for the ears of the mainstream listener yet. It is also their second album under a new management team out of New York City, Crush Management.

Its not often I’ll mention a bands management team in a review but a quick glance at the list of other artists managed by the New York company  (Sia, Green Day, Lorde, Train, Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco), seems to give a clue where they are heading with this release. Take the successful Weezer songwriting formula, add a production TEAM (Butch Walker,Jonny Coffer J.R. Rotem Toby Gad) to tweak the arrangements and hope for mainstream crossover success.

Certainly songs like Get Right, Happy Hour and La Manch Screwjob all have the Perry/Swift/Lorde feel to them and that sound would see them fit nicely into whatever volume of NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL MUSIC we are up to. This in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. The lyrics themselves are still razor sharp and that mixture of cute nostalgia/optimistim/self depreciation largely manages to sidestep the twee.  Q B Blitz is a classic Weezer love song despite the cluttered production and the first song out of the speakers Mexican Fender hooks like a harpoon.

Easing you into this new shiny Weezer world first single  Mexican Fender bears trademarks of the grizzlier Weezer. Fuzzed up chords and a summer tale of meeting a new love in a guitar shop, it is replete with a quirky fake seagull video that is also worth checking out. Even the next track Beach Boys had me thnking, “..you know its good to have another Weezer album in the world just in time for summer”  but once you hit the chorus you realize you have been led into the sand only to be surrounded by someone elses blaring commercial radio. No such mistaking the sound of Feels like Summer with it’s clipped offbeat drums, drop and treated vocal effects. My kids love it. It sounds familiar and is defintely an update of their sound. Very contempary pop. By the way its not like Beck, R.E.M., and The Shins  have not veered into  similar territory on some of their latter albums but I have to say I tended to not favour those albums either.

So after 2016’s self titled White Album Rivers Cuomo announced plans for a Black Album, describing it as “Beach Boys gone bad”. This led to the fan community to expect a lumbering dark dirty beast. Instead Weezer have delivered an album of songs where the Beach Boys have gone pop. This misdirection of expectation may mean It does not appeal to all longtime Weezer fans but I hope it goes straight to Number 1. I’d rather have them on my contempary pop station than 75% of the current crop.It certainly sounds firmly rooted in the 2017 music scene. According to an interview in N.M.E. earlier this week the Black Album is all good to go and up next on the release schedule so if Pacific Daydream doesn’t appeal to your ears then maybe the next one will.

Brent Giblin