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Death To False Metal
Rivers Cuomo & co rejuvenate some long lost gems
Eamonn Seoige, 02 Dec 2010
In recent times, one Mr. James Burns began a rather unusual online campaign. Due to an obvious aversion to their music, he signalled an intention to force Weezer to quit the business by raising a cool $ 10 million pay-off! Fortunately, all you die-hards can rest easy. With only buttons banked, they’re very much here to stay...
In some ways, this odd yarn says much about Weezer’s polarising effect, a band often adored and derided in equal measures.
Only two months ago, album number eight Hurley arrived, bizarrely named after a character from the TV series Lost and featuring his well-known grin on the cover. So, you may well ask, ‘what’s the story with this latest record?’ According to Cuomo, Death to False Metal is essentially a collection of rare and unreleased tracks that didn’t make the first eight albums because they were either “too pop, too punk or too metal.”
For me, this motley assortment of eccentric oddities or “fallen soldiers” is very agreeable indeed.The band sound liberated, delivering a varied set, built on gritty production and dark themes, often hidden beneath a veneer of sunny rhythms. These bittersweet tales of self-deprecation, misery & good times recall their classic early period, primarily the unrivalled Pinkerton album. And so, after some tricky years, marked by patchy experimentation, Death to False Metal feels like a return to the quirky, poptastic Weezer of old.
Opener ‘Turning Up The Radio’ gets matters off to a scorching start, laying down a perfect slice of driving pop that evokes the carefree spirit of early post-rock. Peculiarly, a couple of the album’s key belters were culled from their weakest release ‘Make Believe’ and are more than a match for anything it has to offer. ‘I Don’t Want Your Loving’ and ‘Blowin’ My Stack’ are sure to become live staples, complete with stinging guitar leads and belting vocals.
However, it’s not all gravy and the plodding Kraut-rock of ‘I’m A Robot’ is utterly forgettable and as unusual covers go Toni Braxton’s ‘Unbreak My Heart’ surely tops the pile. It’s nothing special and supposedly the result of a challenge set by master producer Rick Rubin to loosen up & try a ‘torch song’. Overall, as rarities albums go, Weezer have certainly nailed it.