Since the release of 2010’s ‘Eureka’, power-pop sensation Rooney, now chaperoned by founder Robert Schwartzman, have broken a six-year silence with the release of a fourth studio album, ‘Washed Away’, coinciding with the announcement of a completely new line-up of session musicians, including Taylor Johnson (guitar) and Joel Plotnik (drums).
In an attempt to bring back that sunny, early 2000’s indie-rock Rooney are often credited with, Schartzman seeks to explore more palatable pastures of radiant pop – synth-led opener ‘All The Beautiful People’ illustrates this statement in true technicolour. Lead single ‘My Heart Beats 4 U’ channels that laggard riff from the anthem of 2005, ‘Beverly Hills’, by indie-rock artists Weezer – a band that Rooney have been seemingly overshadowed by since their forming in 1999. Nevertheless, a catchy beat. Radio-friendly ‘Why’ balances a vocal duet from Schartzman and Soko – a singer-songwriter from Bordeaux, France – but fails to establish itself as a product of veteran musicianship, rather a sophomore effort. That isn’t to say that it’s not a good song, just not something you’d expect from a group who’ve been writing material since the dawn of the new millennium, never mind the six-year hiatus. Although it must be made clear that Schartzman has written, produced and performed nearly all twelve tracks on the album, so we should cut him a little slack.
Pressing on, ‘Do You Have To Go’ has a rocky hook fit enough for a slot in your summer pool-party playlist, with ‘Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow’ serenading a rather mopish love song. Rooney’s 60’s comparisons are evidently drawn on ‘I Miss You When You’re Gone’, with a culmination of cheery guitar and pop-rock nostalgia laying the foundations. ‘Sad But True’ however is a ballad of underground noir fusing melancholy piano with spacey guitar to croon a rather fitting metaphor for the lonesome destination in which Schartzman has guided Rooney and ‘Washed Away’ alike into.
‘Washed Away’ is out now via Superball Music
This Rooney article was written by Benjamin Irons, a GIGsoup contributor