After a commercially disappointing experiment with edgier indie rock on the 1996 cult classic, Pinkerton, Weezer returns from an extended hiatus with this eponymous set—a back-to-basics effort

After a commercially disappointing experiment with edgier indie rock on the 1996 cult classic, Pinkerton, Weezer returns from an extended hiatus with this eponymous set—a back-to-basics effort that invokes past glories—that's already being dubbed the "green album," thanks to its green cover. The band has reunited with the producer of its first album, (and former Cars front man) Ric Ocasek, and successfully reconnects with its "Buddy Holly"-era form of the early '90s. Such tracks as "Photograph," which plays like the Beach Boys on steroids, and "Hash Pipe," a rocker with a driving riff reminiscent of the Dragnet theme, are slacker-nerd anthems that rival anything the band has written. Weezer also shows off its more melodic moments on "Islands in the Sun" and "Smile," which come complete with crooning vocals from leader Rivers Cuomo. But despite having all the right elements in place, creatively, the band can't fully go home again here. Somehow, it doesn't seem quite as fun or adventurous this time out.—BG

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