2002's Maladroit served as yet another leap forward for the eternally restless Weezer. With each new release the band sharpens their wicked edge and raises the bar in alternative pop. Their sound has always combined ear-bleed power with uncanny nuance; their songs providing easy-access hooks and melodies for Rivers Cuomo's unique lyrics - candid and elusive, painful yet painted in hues of dark humor.
However, Weezer had never shown the kind of energy that's crammed into these tracks. You can't mistake their sound, but there was more to it this time - more fury, more beats passionately bashed, more depth in their surreal vignettes. Take "Dope Nose," whose vocal hook is so sharp that it might soon be declared illegal. Then there are the unexpected twists that Maladroit takes from one track to the next. When you least expect it, here comes "Death and Destruction" with its bluesy shuffle feel and noir guitar. Or "Burndt Jam," a longtime Weezer instrumental that morphed into a funky vocal strut.
Maybe the biggest change here is the emergence of Rivers the Guitar Icon. From the compact, highly melodic four-bar break on "December" to longer stretches on "Love Explosion," "Fall Together," and other tracks, his playing is all over the place. And so when push comes to shove, Maladroit is also another Weezer mystery wrapped inside some of the band's most incendiary music.