The first three tracks of Weezer’s 8th album grab you by the neck, scream in your face, and then douse you with iced water before slapping you silly with a Halibut. Without a doubt the strongest opening the band has ever made to an album, Hurley gets off to a truly raucous, rocking start- but what next? Consistency, or lack of, has blighted Weezer’s last two releases. On The Red Album, fantastic songs like Pork And Beans, Greatest Man That Ever Lived, and Angel And The One were mixed in with the turgid Everybody Get Dangerous, Troublemaker, and Cold Dark World. A similar story on Raditude, where Put Me Back Together, and I Don’t Want To Let You Go share record-space with the sub-standard Love Is The Answer, and The Girl Got Hot. So, does Hurley have the strength in depth that was lacking on Weezer’s last two albums?
Yes. The rest of the tracks aren’t as instantly loveable as the first few, but, as with any great album, the pleasure comes after a few listens when tracks start to grow on you. The only ‘dud’ is Where’s My Sex, and even this isn’t without its charms, with Rivers providing arguably the best vocal he’s ever recorded.
If I had to make a criticism, it would be over the lack of variation in sound. The band’s shift toward Pop from their usual Heavy Rock is a positive one, and adds an impressive string to their collective bow, but only on final track Time Flies, with its Folky harmonies and unusual distorted acoustic guitar backing is there evidence of any real digression from the rest of the tracks.
Quibbles aside, this is Weezer’s best, most consistent work in a long time, and some of the tracks are among the finest they’ve ever produced. Hurley is an outstanding album, and although not quite in the same league as their masterpiece Pinkerton, it’s certainly a contender for second place (yes, perhaps even ahead of The Blue Album).