The Rentals Return With A Preponderance Of Content

When Matt Sharp started his cutesy little Weezer side project (ahem, excuse me: musical collective), The Rentals, back in 1994, I thought, “That’s nice. They’ve given the bassist his own little band to play with.” I said that in a baby talk voice. Now I look back fondly on the reliable pop charms of the Rentals, having watched Rivers Cuomo spend the last decade dismantling any goodwill I ever felt for Weezer. Did y’all listen to “Heart Songs”? That song alone has made me question why I ever liked that band.

The Rentals have a new photography/film/music project called Songs About Time. During 2009, the band is posting one photo a day, one film a week, and one song a month, in the form of three $4 four-song EPs. They are also trying their hand at the whole limited-edition thing, with coffee table books and vinyl and DVDs and VIP passes to concerts and such. The first EP, The Story of A Thousand Seasons Past, is available now! There’s a lot to see, do, and buy.

And how are the songs? What can I say? They’ve got reliable pop charms, if a shade more melancholic and spacious in arrangement (no more kitschy synths). Any trace of Weezer is now gone, and the songs retain the male/female vocal interplay of the other Rentals output. The new material doesn’t sound like a superstarfest like the second Rentals record, which is nice, but I have no idea who the musicians are, other than, one assumes, Matt Sharp. (Thanks, Flash-heavy The Rentals page!) Fans of other reliable charming pop bands like The Broken West and Imperial Teen should be into this, though its pace is a tad slower. You can listen to the EP right here:

The Rentals: Songs About Time [Official site]