Weezer is more than a month into recording sessions for its long-gestating fifth studio album. But in yet another new development, producer Rick Rubin, who frontman Rivers Cuomo credited with helping

Weezer is more than a month into recording sessions for its long-gestating fifth studio album. After a 10-day break, the band will resume work on the set in hopes of finishing it in time for frontman Rivers Cuomo to start the fall semester at Harvard, which he last attended in 1997.

In yet another new development, producer Rick Rubin, who Cuomo credited with helping him turn a corner in his personal and professional life, has bowed out of the day-to-day work process, according to Weezer's official Web site. Work behind the boards is being handled by engineer Chad Bramford, who has worked with the band for the past several years in various capacities.

"The sessions with Rick started back in [December 2003] have been shelved in favor of the fresh start that commenced three weeks ago in the current sessions," the site says. "This was done mainly in response to Rivers regaining his sense of momentum with his songwriting, and not feeling right about continuing with the incomplete recordings from December. In effect, the band is now producing itself, as it did on [the prior albums] 'Pinkerton' and 'Maladroit,' but this time they have a wise shoulder to lean on if and when need be. So far, it's working out pretty excellently."

The site stresses the 12 "songs being recorded now are not 'brand new,' they have been worked up since early this year as demos, over the entire spring time, by Rivers. In some cases, they were developed from songs being worked on in '03, but underwent such changes as to now be totally distinct from their origins. Basically, these 12 songs are 'new', but 'new' means early and spring 2004 (not last week or whatever). Also, there is the possibility of trying some additional songs if there is time, and such material could be '04 or '03 stuff."

The as-yet-untitled set will be released by the end of the year or early 2005 via Geffen. It will be the follow-up to 2002's "Maladroit," which debuted at No. 3 on The Billboard 200.

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