Rooney - Washed Away
Rooney – Washed Away (Superball Music) 

Release Date: 29th July 2016

Having only recently been switched on to the marvellous Rooney it was somewhat fortuitous that a brand new album just found its way to me. ‘Washed Away’ is the fourth long player from the band that is essentially a vehicle for the song writing talents of one Robert Schwartzman. Opening with ‘All The Beautiful People’, Schwartzman plays a strong first card with a bouncy, edgy, alt-pop sound thoroughly suited to the American market and destined to be played in the background of a montage on one of those shows where everyone is gorgeous and even the drunks are glamorous (I don’t know what those shows are called because, well, I’m always writing about music). Recent and gorgeous single ‘My Heart Beats 4 U’ is just as wonderfully catchy and chant-able as ever it was with dirty guitars counteracting the saccharine melodies that puts this in Weezer or Fountains of Wayne territory. The strong start is completed by the swaggering ‘Don’t Be A Hero’ which uses a honky-tonk piano and some 80s grooves to great effect in making a song that sounds like Katie Perry doing a weird version of the Beach Boys classic ‘Kokomo’ produced by Brandon Flowers.

As this album settles in to its stride and grows in confidence, ‘Why’ touches down like Squeeze making a comeback via some Strokes inspired material while title track ‘Washed Away’ impresses with its hypnotic, indie-meets-industrial riff and slacker-cool chorus. ‘Time Alone’ is a track made for a happy ending (not that kind, I meant like in a film - you filthy boot-licker) with a sing-a-long chorus melody and plenty of references to the end of an era in the lyrics. That Strokes influence is there again in ‘Do You Have To Go?’ but with more of a punky edge coming out in the stop-start verse guitar riff. There’s no doubt that Schwartzman can put a tune together but it’s the combination of indie nous and pop melodies that makes this such an appealing collection of songs, each one a carefully mixed cocktail of sunshine, regret and lust with a twist of melancholy all served in a glass made from pure optimism (question; would a glass made from pure optimism always be half full? Discuss).
Rooney - aka Robert Schwartzman

Track 8 sees Rooney take on the stylings of Teenage Fanclub and the Mersey Beat bands with ‘Come On Baby’ before getting all 90s West Coast indie on us with ‘Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow’ – albeit 90s West Coast indie with some serious guitar wailing going on. The underlying spirit of lament in these songs comes bubbling up on ‘I Miss You When You’re Gone’ as the spirit of John Lennon at his most mopey rises to the surface. In to the last two tracks and, sadly, there’s an element of the album petering out a little as ‘You’re All I Ever Need’ does little to stand out from the other tracks on the album. ‘Sad But True’ closes things up as a plodding, piano rich affair which is fine as songs go but isn’t the triumphant end to the album we might have hoped for (‘Time Alone’ might have been better placed here). So, all in all a fine album indeed but it would have survived at 10 tracks instead of 12 and I kinda hope that Schwartzman gets some partying in before album number 5 as some of his melodies deserve some good times to go with them.

Live Dates:

16th September – KAABOO Del Mar, Del Mar