Rooney - Eureka

Album cover
Indie, Pop
California Dreaming Records
Rooney
Eureka
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As evidenced by their first two albums, Rooney are a pop band whose most memorable feature is how absolutely forgettable they are. If not mistaken for a number of other acts working their way to small amounts of radio stardom, they’re solidifying their reputation as one of the most tedious pop artists in recent history. They’re complacent with the fact that their music redefines the term "conformity," even if their utter lack of originality has left them without an identity, or, worse yet, without an appeal. While the rest of their discography was able to reach a large demographic, Eureka rehashes material which their target audience probably hasn’t even heard of. If seen as an attempt to draw their fans to a new set of music, all I can say is that it’s the thought that counts. Alas, the modern sheen and shallow laxity which Rooney associate with all aspects of their music allows another reason for this new influx of influences to arise. Simply stated, with the arrival of Eureka, Rooney have run out of ideas.

It’s not hard to think of the vast array of styles that Rooney are using in their quest to redefine unassuming pop music. Tracks like "Stars and Stripes" take the trite "motivational" lyrics of their peers and meld them with the simple, jazz flair of Steely Dan. As well, the band contributes their fair share of unsubstantial eighties pop music, drowning in waves of simplistic and tedious pop rehash. But, though the band specializes in everything that’s been done before, that’s not Rooney’s most palpable problem. With Eureka, the band has produced an album which is so boring it becomes distracting. It’s hard to wade through the overwhelming amount of forgettable verses and lackluster hooks in order to hit a short moment of promise. However, when this promise is found, it’s nearly always a near-replication of their influences’ styles. Seventies and eighties pop tributes are abound, with sneaky takes on jazzy piano rock and modern production ethics. This style of sound manipulation gives the album a glossy sheen, of course, but it only makes Rooney’s flaws more evident.

Because of these elements, Rooney becomes shallow. As if their problems weren’t glaring enough already, they go about their music with such a bored attitude that their sound can’t do anything but reflect it. When not shining a proverbial light on their influences (the Nilsson comparison is obvious, but then again it sounds like a watered-down Locksley), they’re seemingly plodding along on their instruments, coming up with expected and pitiful results. To add on to their list of overwhelming problems, any character that Rooney may have is suffocated by this gloss; it doesn’t allow any sort of disparity to come through, leading to a pristine, but frustratingly unassuming sound. The guitars rarely stray from the simplest melodies, the bass and drums are minimal inclusions, and the vocals are lazy end thoughts rather than accomplishments.

But don’t think that Rooney don’t know this; on the closer, "Don’t Look at Me," they proclaim that they’re a poor, old-news sort of artist. It’s ironic, yes, but I doubt it’s reflective; the chorus is arguably the most profoundly boring part of the album. Similarly, despite all of the chuckles you’ll get out of Rooney’s proclamation: "And it never stops; it's all I got./ And I never know when to turn./ Like a merry-go-round, it all comes around again,/...Yes, I'm holdin' on for as long as I can." it never seems like they mean it. They’re simply misguided. When they try to relate to their fan base, they fail to form a connection (probably because such tracks like "Holding On" are so shallow and saccharine). When they try to craft perceptible pop hooks, they instead craft tawdry lulls. They’re making the same mistakes that were made on their first two albums; now it’s just more perceptible. Unfortunately for Rooney (and the listeners of course), that is where any perceptible feature of Eureka ends.

1. Holdin’ On
2. I Can’t Get Enough
3. Only Friend
4. Into the Blue
5. All or Nothing
6. The Hunch
7. I Don’t Wanna Lose You
8. Stars and Stripes
9. Go On
10. You’re What I’m Looking For
11. Not in My House
12. Don’t Look At Me

Rooney are a five-piece American rock band from Los Angeles currently self-produced, and formerly signed to Geffen Records. The band is composed of: Robert Schwartzman, Louie Stephens, Taylor Locke, Ned Brower, and Brandon Schwartzel. The band is named after principal Ed Rooney, from the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

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