Seven More Minutes
By: Eric Greenwood
Sadly, Matt Sharp announced last year that he was leaving Weezer permanently. Presumably, this was to focus all of his attention on The Rentals. Considering it’s been four years since the last record, maybe, paying a bit more attention to it would be a wise idea. Sharp wrote this record in Barcelona Spain and enlisted several famous faces to help out on vocals, including Damon Albarn from Blur, Miki Berenyi formerly of Lush, and Tim Wheeler from Ash. The result is a slight departure from Return Of The Rentals in that it emphasizes guitars over keyboards, while maintaining the same sort of up beat silliness that was a staple even in Weezer.
Return Of The Rentals was a very stylized record. Moog-drenched songs with harmonized, robotic vocals made it very one-dimensional. Seven More Minutes is much more aggressive and open. The moogs are still there, but they don’t sound retro anymore. Much like his former bandmate, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, Sharp’s songwriting is happy go lucky with lightweight lyrics and slightly catchy choruses. His voice isn’t as endearing as Cuomo’s and it’s way too high in the mix. The production is very crisp and big, which seems like a bit of overkill considering the vintage instrumentation.
“Getting By” sums up Sharp’s attitude of drinking and partying just enough to get by. “Hello, Hello” tends to drag on aimlessly after such a promising start, and “She Says It’s Alright” is a completely out of place, misfired attempt at a country song. Sharp can keep his head above water when he keeps the tempo up, but everything falls apart when things slow down. Traces of Gary Numan flicker throughout this record and the use of a vocoder on “The Cruise” recalls Kraftwerk, but this is a very modern sounding record despite the analogue props.
Sharp can’t quite pull off the silliness like his old band, and sometimes things get embarrassing like the Naughty By Nature style “Ho…Hey” chant in “Big Daddy C.” But Sharp pulls it back together on “Keep Sleeping” thanks to That Dog’s Petra Haden on back-up vocals. The brightest moment on the record is also the shortest, coincidentally: “Insomnia” is a guitar-driven charger with catchy two finger keyboard lines and punkish stops and starts. Seven More Minutes is an uneven record to say the least. Maybe, now that Sharp is able spend all of his time with the band he can iron out all the inconsistencies; otherwise, The Rentals will remain so so.