Most bands toil and sweat to come up with an album’s worth of songs. Weezer sounds as if it has the opposite problem–stopping the flood. “Maladroit” (in stores Tuesday) comes just a year after the L.A. band’s last album, and its tuneful music flows out with uniform force. When it stops after 35 minutes, it’s as if the band simply decided it was time to twist the shut-off valve.
There’s none of the rise-and-fall complexity so many musicians use to make their records seem as important as novels, none of the clean, regimented sound that prevails in punk-derived pop. Leader Rivers Cuomo and company wallow in a pure sonic pleasure, slopping through their musical mud with an infectious exuberance.
“Maladroit” is packed with clarion chording, clouds of aural sparks, background-filling vocal refrains, spoken asides, and call-and-response exchanges. The band’s production fills the space to near-capacity–it all seems about to explode into feedback, and even a thump on a certain drum pulls a squeal out of the air.
Trembling at the breaking point is where Cuomo loves to be. Weezer’s central persona, he remains the iconic outsider, and the music serves that character well. But the emphasis in “Maladroit” (which is enhanced with live videos of seven songs) is the sound itself. At a time when even rock’s alternative and underground heroes often record like fastidious fussbudgets, Weezer reminds us that it’s OK to make a mess.