Odd band out finds home in warm jukebox glow of classicist power-pop
With lead-heavy marketing and a sound reminiscent of Weezer without the promise of a Pinkerton, Rooney’s debut disc received something of a critical and commercial beatdown. As a result, this delayed sophomore set finds itself released somewhat under the radar, which, in some ways, is a better fit. Allowed to make a more cultish, Raspberries-like pop gesture, Rooney is considerably more enjoyable. Though willfully doe-eyed and light, bubblegum teen operas like “I Should’ve Been After You” and “Paralyzed” have a certain Cheap Trick charm and the album’s essential tunefulness is something to be relished. Thrown down Zumpano-style on songs like the excellent “What For,” it’s a joyride. Things get slightly clunky when the tempo slows and they stretch for drama, but there’s a growing self-awareness here that keeps Rooney within its comfort zone, which, refreshingly, is comforting more often than not. Sometimes accepting that you’re not the next big thing is the best thing that can happen to you.