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Ozma

Pasadena

(Reincarnate; US: 15 May 2007; UK: Available as import)

You’d think that a band whose fame is derived primarily from its association with Weezer and The Rentals might be a bit more cautious about sounding like those two bands. Get past the obvious association and inspiration, however, and Ozma turns out to be a fantastic little pop-rock band that writes humble-yet-upbeat, catchy little tunes. Yes, catchy! The biggest failing of so many bands coming out these days who are trying to sound like Weezer without really sounding like Weezer is these bands’ fear of writing an actual chorus. Ozma has no such predisposition—they’ll toss handclaps in there, they’ll write sugar-sweet melody lines, and they’ll repeat them into oblivion, all to grand effect. Pasadena actually features two songs from previous Ozma releases, though you’d never know it; “No One Needs to Know” and “Eponine”, while perhaps a bit more naïve than the rest of the album, fit in quite well. Highlights for the rest of the album include “Incarnation Blues” (which aren’t bluesy at all, as it turns out) and the lovely “Heartache Vs Heartbreak” which features The Rentals’ Rachel Haden on lead vocals. In all, it’s more like Weezer’s green self-titled album than anything, eager to live up to an ideal and doing a good job of it, even if the critical response is bound to concentrate on the resulting comparisons. You know what? To hell with all that—turn it up and rock like your geeky mid-‘90s self one more time. You know you miss it.

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Mike Schiller is a software engineer in Buffalo, NY who enjoys filling the free time he finds with media of any sort -- music, movies, and lately, video games. Stepping into the role of PopMatters Multimedia editor in 2006 after having written music and game reviews for two years previous, he has renewed his passion for gaming to levels not seen since his fondly-remembered college days of ethernet-enabled dorm rooms and all-night Goldeneye marathons. His three children unconditionally approve of their father's most recent set of obsessions.


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