Weezer, "Hurley"

74 Billboard Rating

"Hurley," the veteran alt-rock band's speedy follow-up to last year's "Raditude," should mollify old-school Weezer fans horrified by that album's oddball forays into shiny top 40 territory. Instead of punching up his tunes with help from the likes of Dr. Luke and Lil Wayne, here frontman Rivers Cuomo emphasizes Weezer's core values: fuzzy guitars, catchy melodies and self-pitying lyrics. "That's the story of our lives," he sings at one point, "We are trainwrecks." Not that "Hurley"-which was either titled after the clothing company or the "Lost" character (pictured, above right), depending on which member of the band you're talking to-is entirely free of Cuomo's well-known eccentric streak. The song "Unspoken" features a cameo from smooth-jazz saxophonist Greg Vail (on flute, no less), while peppy lead single "Memories" contains at least one surprising reminiscence ("Watching all the freaky Dutch kids vomit and then have sex"). But as the band's first disc for Epitaph following a 15-year major-label run, the stripped-down "Hurley" mostly delivers what you'd expect.

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