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Smaller label yields better results for Weezer

Not judging a book by its cover is something you hear every day. Not judging an album by its cover, however, is a little more uncommon.

Such is the truth with alternative rockers Weezer's latest release, "Hurley." The cover of the album is a close-up photo of Hurley, a character from ABC's hit show "Lost."

Recently, fans of the Weezer's older albums have been "Lost" with the material the band has been putting out. Their last album, "Ratitude" sold only 66,000 albums the first week it was released, less than any Weezer album in years. However, the band moved to the smaller label Epitaph, and enthusiasts everywhere can now breathe a sigh of relief. "Hurley" sounds like a classic Weezer album.

"Ruling Me" has the vintage power-pop guitar sound that originally made the band famous. The gang vocals in this track fit perfectly. The next song, "Trainwrecks," has a slightly slower tempo and one of the most anthem-like choruses on the album.

The lone acoustic song off the record, "Unspoken," proves that Cuomo still has the raw talent to sing with just an acoustic guitar complementing his voice. Contemporary jazz musician Greg Vail gives the song a twist with a flute part.

The last minute of this song is one of the strongest on the album. All four band members turn it up a notch, adding distorted guitar chords and crashing cymbals to create a crescendo.

The song "Run Away," co-written by songwriter and musician Ryan Adams, has deep and honest lyrics, a complex musical sound, and changes tempos a few times. Despite starting with just Cuomo and some distant piano, the song quickly picks up into a driving verse highlighted by a chord progression that sounds like it would have fit perfect on the band's 2005 album, "Make Believe." The chorus is topped off by grand backing vocals from lead guitarist Brian Bell and bassist Scott Shriner.

"Hang On" is like one of those vintage, catchy Weezer songs that has the potential to be a radio hit. More than any other song on the album, the backing vocals compliment Cuomo's surprisingly high tone.

The standout guitar track on "Hurley," and the one that ends the album on a high note, is "Smart Girls." While Cuomo's lyrics are comical, after the second verse Bell rips into a melodic and rhythmic solo that captures every aspect of his skills.

Fans of Weezer can expect tour dates soon. The band will tour this fall for "Hurley" while playing their first two albums, "Weezer," commonly referred to as "The Blue Album," and "Pinkerton, in their entirety.

Nicholas Parco can be reached at

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