Rozwell Kid's comparisons to Weezer have been endless. They have also been fully justified: Founder Jordan Hudkins channels a young Rivers Cuomo with ease, cranking out big, crunchy power-pop tunes with a charmingly geeky quality and an air of everydayness. The West Virginia band have taken nostalgia for '90s indie-rock and jolted it with a few hundred volts, enough to reanimate the spirit of The Blue Album and give it a new, joyous energy.
The band's SideOneDummy debut ought to be a hit with fans of the band's new labelmates Jeff Rosenstock and the Smith Street Band. Laced throughout with Thin Lizzy guitar riffs and the rock'n'roll rambunctiousness of the Darkness, Precious Art kicks things off with the catchy, high-energy single "Wendy's Trash Can," while other hummable pop-punk tunes, like "Blow It" and "Boomerang," are instantly likeable. Chiller, mid-tempo cuts like "Futon" and "MadTV" even out the pace nicely, and atmospheric tracks "South By" and especially "Gameball" show that Rozwell Kid are capable of breathtaking beauty in their music, too.
Hudkins has a lighthearted, curious way of writing, but while his lyrics are full of quirky details and idiosyncrasies — like eating tacos and watching Weird Al's UHF, which makes up the chorus of bouncy single "UHF on DVD" — the themes are as universal as any: Love and heartbreak, excitement and disappointment, anxiety and insecurity.
His youthful humour can dip into juvenility, however, most notably with "Booger," a song about picking his nose and getting a booger on his smartphone's screen. (There must be more meaning to be found somewhere in the supposed love song, but committing its central hook to a big wet bogey isn't exactly an invitation to anyone over the age of 12 to appreciate it very much.) Meanwhile, "Wish Man" features him barking like a dog, which nobody really needed to hear.
But if you're looking for a good time and willing to embrace Rozwell Kid and all their oddities, Precious Art will make for a fun and, in some ways, nostalgic listen. (Side One Dummy)