After 15 album-less years, The Rentals are BACK

The Rentals

September 7, 2014

Glass House- Pomona, CA


Thank God that power pop is still alive and well. Sunday night at the Glass House in Pomona featured Ozma, We Are Scientists, and The Rentals on an all killer no filler lineup.

First up, Ozma. Any night that starts with the band that wrote Rock and Roll Part 3 is bound to be epic in scale. They have a new record out called Boomtown from which they played a handful of songs, but they didn’t shy away from the old hits that the fans could sing along to. What’s always astonishing to me about Ozma is how they manage to duplicate their heavily studio polished sound so precisely in a live setting.

We Are Scientists have hilarious banter. They got on a string of hashtag and social media jokes that landed nicely as well as near constant self deprecating humor. Their brand of power pop is a bit heavier and higher energy than the other bands on the bill. It’s good, but sandwiched between two bands who are so melodically driven, it doesn’t carry as well as it otherwise might. Whatever was lacking in that department, however, they made up for with pure stage dynamism.

dsc_6225_scFinally, The Rentals took the stage. Musically, they can be summed up one way: hooks on hooks on hooks. Dear Lord, there is not a single part of a song that Matt Sharp phones in. Anyone with a half functioning brain will catch themselves unconsciously singing along to songs they’ve never heard before; that’s how catchy they are. While this band certainly stands on its own and needs no “members of” qualification, it’s difficult to write about The Rentals without mentioning that Matt Sharp used to be in Weezer. Having recently seen Weezer half ass a performance at the Del Mar racetrack, I have to say that The Rentals are everything you might wish Weezer still was today.

Despite the similarly thick glasses, Matt Sharp is Rivers Cuomo’s opposite on stage. He is reminiscent of some sort of power pop love child of Milo Aukerman from The Descendents and Dan Potthast from MU330. If you decided to be an idiot and hate The Rentals’ music, you could plug your ears and still be blown away by how much fun Matt Sharp was having on stage. Not many bands can end a set with a nearly 10 minute long mashup of M’s Pop Muzik with the Ghostbusters theme song, but The Rentals can. It’s a great idea for about five minutes. Then tedious for a couple, then once you come to terms with the fact that this will go on as long as Sharp thinks it’s funny, it becomes hysterical again.

The Rentals have a new record out now called Lost in Alphaville that features Ozma’s Ryen Slegr (now a member of the band) that’s definitely worth checking out. Your move, Rivers.

Review by: Chris Graue