rooney eureka
  • TUESDAY, JUNE 08, 2010

  • Posted by:

Eureka might be named for a cry of sudden inspiration, and appropriately so: it neatly (and immediately) packages the saccharine sounds that made Cali-pop band Rooney famous in the first place. The band has had a slow couple of years; mid-aughts label drama and a plethora of shelved material, saved only by the blistering pep of "When Did Your Heart Go Missing" (easily their best song to date, not including the new batch). But their output has never been marred by ire, and Eureka is good fodder for the waves, even if they've spent a few years trying to get it off the pavement.

Like many of their contemporaries, Rooney's move to an "independent" label (in quotes due to its ties to Warner, despite being a desperate distribution channel) begs questions of deeper authenticity... are we finally hearing Rooney as they wish to be heard? The cohesiveness of the tunes, not to mention the striking balance of giddy exclamations and California chords would suggest a band operating at a more personally gratifying level. The listener experience, from the jammy "I Can't Get Enough" to mellowed, almost disco-influenced tracks like "Stars and Stripes" provide just enough variety to stay entertaining. I'm actually curious to hear what the band thinks of certain instances of "funky" creeping up on their jams, especially in the rhythm section. The untimely departure of bassist Matthew Winter (right after the record was completed) will make it difficult to investigate.

The lyricism is fairly straightforward, the band is a pop act and stand tall as such. Accessibility is one of their strong suits. The kids who grew up hearing Rooney tunes in Hollister stores are now scouring the internet for their next fix, suppressing prolonged interest with compounding consumption and inventory turnover that would make the stock market blush. Rooney needs something immediately sticky, and with Eureka, engagement occurs almost right away. I think it could be the harmonies. Rooney has a trademark set of intervals that occurs over and over, although seemingly omnipresent in California twee, Rooney kind of locked it down a long time ago, at least at a mainstream level.

Technical aspects aside, Eureka is simply nostalgic, it's a beacon back to the days when popular rock music was defined more by the band's aesthetics than the expectations of the assumed audience. And it is absolutely the overall ambiance, the neo-Americana, that finally ties up Eureka and nails down its rightful spot on the shelf. Eureka, in reality, is probably named for the city, a coastal town in Northern California. The lack of an exclamation point, coupled with the clearly Californian imagery on the cover kind of confirms this theory. Rooney's best qualities support an album named after a place, specifically one in their country of origin. A band with a recognizable sound doesn't crop up very often, especially with such a locational sensibility, spanning decades of styles. Lucky for us, Rooney has that great American sound. -joe puglisi

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MP3: "I Don't Wanna Lose You" (Eureka)
Rooney on Myspace

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