The palm trees and sunshine of Los Angeles have always been famous for allowing the best or worst (depending on your opinion) of humankind to live underneath a shining and successful faáade, no matter their problems or how unaccomplished they actually are.
Musicians have always obliged, espousing a strict California cool. From The Beach Boys’ complex harmonies to The Eagles’ drug-fueled adventures of the 1970s it’s always been a center of American rock music.
Still, California is still America’s land of fun, which is why Rooney’s second album, Calling The World, is such a great listen. It amalgamates the aforementioned styles into a captivating, yet quite kitschy collection of power-pop songs.
Surprisingly, though, it’s all quite serious. In a sense, it’s a vintage album, from a time when confessionals were left to folk singers and the best songs were the ones that only hinted at anxiety. Even the album cover is meant to look old, portraying a frayed photograph of the band staring out toward the viewer in their vintage wardrobe.
Robert Carmine, the lead singer, does have women problems but he, like all good Angelinos, applies a coat of polish. There are no hard edges to the songs: each guitar part fits swiftly without any diverting distortion.
Almost all the songs concern those problems, be it spurning the one you want (“I Should’ve Been After You”) or longing for a love ruined (“When Did Your Heart Go Missing?”). The songs, while heartfelt, tend to fall into a category of corniness; the band seems to be having too much of a good time together rollicking along to worry about their messed up love lives. Whenever things get too tough the band lets the songs retreat into their hooks and melodies.
As artists, the band does have the problem of simplicity. Most of these songs are too interchangeable to be memorable, a change from their debut which experimented a little bit musically and wasn’t afraid to show its flaws. That may be unCalifornia-like, but it makes for a better listen.
buzz predicts that Rooney will make an appearance at the Canopy Club in the near future … (wink, August 24, wink, wink)