As bassist for the post-grunge nerd rockers Weezer, Matt Sharp provides the pendulous rhythmic pathos for the band's skewed perspectives. The Rentals, a side project formed two years ago as sort of new-wave field trip, find him courting much of the same bombast, only with more room for experimentation.
The band's debut effort (produced predictably by Ric Ocasek) was an outing to the '80s. "Seven More Minutes," though nodding to that style, is meant as a journal for a European vacation. Written through travels in Spain and recorded in London, the record teems with the sort of disenfranchised social tourism of a rock & roll nomad. "Getting By," the first single, is an anthem to escapism, all punched up with Moog and such, but still looking down at small experiences. "Big Daddy C.," which features Blur's Damon Albarn, finds Sharp at the same sort of deconstructive pop crossroads as the last two Blur albums, decorating burnt melodies with pained release. It's a brilliant emotional passport, really, from an unexpected American source.