Lost In Alphaville

The Rentals

Polyvinyl Records, 2014

http://www.therentals.com

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/15/2014

On their first full-length record since 1999, Matt Sharp returns with a new lineup of the Rentals that includes members of the Black Keys, Ozma and Lucius. Returning with a richer, heavier sound, Sharp has refocused his energy on The Rentals and it shows on this new collection of tracks. Many songs harken back to the band’s heyday with rich synths and really great female harmonies.

Songs like “It’s Time To Come Home” have that harsher sound than most people are probably not used to hearing from the Rentals, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad track; au contraire! It’s a new era for Sharp and company and it’s a nice bridge from the past to the future. “Traces Of Our Tears” is a great trip down memory lane to the first album, full of synths and very poppy. There are definitely plenty of songs here that could be played on current pop radio and would fit right in with the Meghan Trainors of the world.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Stardust” is another of those great pop songs of the 21st century that deserves to stand the rest of time. The new female singers, who are also the singers in Lucius, really help the song “Damaris” feel like an outtake from 1995’s Return Of The Rentals, which is the type of nostalgic trip you would hope an album like this would have.

“Irrational Things” is another sonic daydream through the Rentals of old; one really has to sit back and dig those great synthesizers. “Thought Of Sound” has some great vocals from Mr. Sharp and brings the record full circle, back from 1995. There’s not as much acoustic reflecting like the type heard on their sophomore record from 1999, but that’s refreshing. It gives the songs a chance to be more pop-oriented and gives the record more of a happier tone.

The last couple of tracks aren’t really that striking or very memorable, bar one: “Seven Years” does have some great synth work, reminiscent of 1995’s “Waiting.” All in all, this album is a welcome return for a quirky band remembered for one of the most distinct records of the whole generic scene of mid ‘90s alt rock. Even though The Rentals were ahead of their time and are considered a one hit wonder, this record sounds really good and very, very retro.

Rating: B-

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