The RENTALS – ” Q36 “

Posted: July 5, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Before Weezer released Pinkerton — the initially-misunderstood album that eventually became rightfully recognized as the band’s masterpiece — they were working on Songs From the Black Hole, a space-themed science fiction rock opera with guest vocals by Rachel Haden and Joan Wasser that was eventually abandoned, with some songs ending up on Pinkerton, others surfacing over the years, and others still in the vault or unfinished. Just judging by what does exist of it, it’s one of the great “lost” albums in rock history, and Weezer never attempted anything like it since. The post-Pinkerton, Matt Sharp-less version of the band has almost never neared the heights of the band’s classic ’90s era, though Matt Sharp’s band The Rentals have. Their 2014 reunion album “Lost In Alphaville” (released on Polyvinyl) was the album that those of us who wanted another Blue Album were waiting for, and with the self-released Q36 — The Rentals’ first new album in six years – they just may have made their Songs From the Black Hole.

The Rentals’ lineup is now Matt Sharp with Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner and The Killers drummer Ronnie Vanucci, and they made this album with frequent Flaming Lips collaborator Dave Fridmann as mixing engineer and guest vocal contributions from The Gentle Assassins Choir, School of Seven Bells’ Alejandra Deheza, and others. Fridmann especially is a perfect fit for Q36; Lost In Alphaville sounded like crunchy, punchy, power-poppy ’90s Rentals but Q36 is a soaring, adventurous psychedelic pop album that sounds like Matt Sharp’s very own Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. And, lyrically, it’s a space-themed science fiction concept album.

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Each of the 16 songs on this double album tells its own story — with inspiration coming from real-life occurrences like Apollo 11 (“Forgotten Astronaut”) and the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster (“Great Big Blue”), as well as hypothetical, apocalyptic scenarios that fall under “science fiction” but aren’t so impossible to imagine these days — and Matt chose to introduce these stories to the world by releasing one song at a time over the past few months. Together, the 16 songs of Q36 make something that genuinely earns the term “epic.” It’s by far the most ambitious music that Matt Sharp has ever released, and he pulls it off. The Rentals’ first reunion album proved they could still churn out quality versions of the music they made in the ’90s, but I don’t know who could’ve predicted Matt would return six years later with a star-studded line up and an album that is both literally and figuratively out of this world. This is the kind of album that music nerds dream up when they’re shooting the breeze about hypothetical supergroups and album concepts that will never exist. But I promise you’re not dreaming, Q36 really does exist, and it’s as great as it sounds like it’d be. Surely “Q36” is Matt’s magnum opus. I was unsure at first as the singles came out but one by one it turned into a masterpiece!.

The space western theme is a story on it’s own.

Released June 26th, 2020

(Singer, Songwriter; Producer) Matt Sharp
(Guitarist) Nick Zinner
(Drummer) Ronnie Vannucci

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