Release Date: May 6, 2016
Record label: Beachwood Park Music
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Fourth album from the LA power poppers If Rooney had formed in the late 70s, they would have been peers of Cheap Trick and The Cars – indeed, they initially wanted Ric Ocasek to produce their self-titled 2003 debut album. They purvey a similar line in slickly produced, smart, hook-heavy power pop. .
Six years after their previous album and under the guidance of sole original member Robert Schwartzman, Rooney return with another collection of sunny California power pop. Washed Away is Schwartzman's attempt to return to the spirit of their breakthrough debut, but instead it falls closer to their competent sophomore album Calling the World. While Washed Away doesn't add anything new to the Rooney equation, it is ultimately enjoyable.
Improbably, Rooney is a band that still exists outside the hallowed space of the Bait Shop on late-night reruns of The O.C. Even more improbably, they’ve put out a record in 2016 that is suffused with the sort of energy you’d expect from a debut or sophomore effort. More than a decade of mid-sized venues and living under the penumbral shadow of “I’m Shakin’”, a track which made it onto a host of mixed CDs in the mid Aughts and not much further, it is a shock—an impressive thing—that Washed Away carries with it as much cheer and honest-to-god fun as it does.
Not to be confused with Paul Rooney’s 90s UK indie band, this Californian Rooney have toured with Weezer and the Strokes. The band is now down to a solitary member, Robert Schwartzman, who writes, produces and performs almost all the songs here, bringing varying moods to a default mode of sunny powerpop. The excellent Why sees him sharing vocal duties with French singer/actor Soko, and could be a more bubblegum Strokes.