ALBUM REVIEW – “Everything Will Be Alright in the End” by Weezer

Only the most devoted, or perhaps injudicious Weezer fan could describe their back catalogue as consistent. For such a revered band, their output beyond the two classics of their early years has varied wildly in quality, from the underrated Maladroit to the utterly abysmal Raditude. The odd monster single aside, it’s been a bumpy ride for Rivers and the gang, something that’s perhaps been acknowledged in the title of Everything Will Be Alright in the End. It’s the most overt attempt at self-redemption since the unnecessarily populist Green Album, and for the first time in a good long while sounds like a band comfortable in what they’re doing. The silliness is kept on a leash, all attempts to remain relevant through gimmickry put behind, and one of the best songwriters of his generation finally back to doing what he does best.

Wrapping sweet Beach Boys pop in scuzzy Pixies fuzz may have long since lost its novelty, but the formula feels somehow refreshed as ‘Ain’t Got Nobody’ rolls in on a bed of samples, makes its case as a lovely tune and then gives way to the next song with minimum fuss but maximum impact. The following couplet of songs may as well be an appeal to the group’s fanbase for forgiveness – ‘Back to the Shack’ espousing the values of homegrown rock n’ roll, ‘Eulogy for a Rock Band’ a celebratory tale of an unnamed group (that might well be the one that wrote the song). These clear arcs back to the early days of Weezer may be sepia-tinged, but that old sound is so inherently likeably – and the hooks so well constructed this time around – that it just works. While there are dips they don’t sink nearly as low as any post-2001 Weezer record. ‘Cleopatra’ feels initially awkward, but its tongue-in-cheek Egyptian fill into metallic riffage completely turns things around; ‘Foolish Father’ sadly isn’t quite interesting enough between its Hammer gothic intro and the final, massive refrain of the album’s title.

The highlights, though, are high indeed. ‘The British Are Coming’ is a mid-album gem, centred around a typically, wonderfully idiosyncratic Rivers Cuomo vocal performance. His lyrics manage to stay the right side of hokey this time around’ the line treaded finely on ‘Da Vinci’ – though its lovely whistling sections are magnificently carefree. What makes Everything Will Be Alright in the End so successful is that though the band are having fun, they’re at last laughing with rather than at their audience. This is typified by the final sequence, a compact cheese-prog romp dubbed the ‘Futurescope Trilogy’. It’s as charming as anything Weezer have put their name to, ramping up multi-layered guitar harmonies and rock god solos with careless abandon, and as ‘Return to Ithaka’ slams back to Earth in an AC/DC-style crash of instruments, it’s hard not to smile.

Quite why it’s taken this long for Weezer to sound sincere again is anybody’s guess, but better than late than never. Twenty years on from their first self-titled record, the prophecy that Everything Will Be Alright In the End has rather unexpectedly been fulfilled. That Cuomo and co. can make power pop as good as any should not be taken for granted, but because of their shaky track record it more often than not is. Their best album in more than a decade, this is an unexpected and welcome return to form that justifies whatever faith their fanbase has maintained over the years. It’s no Pinkerton, but it doesn’t need to be – right now, rather good is all that we needed. Rather good is what we’ve got.

Rating: 7 / 10

Michael Bird

‘Back to the Shack’

Weezer

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