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Rooney’s debut impresses

Rebecca Saunders | Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Through the barrage of bands that are constantly releasing new albums everyday, it has become increasingly difficult to encounter a new band that embodies a fresh and different sound. The increasingly popular new band Rooney has accomplished just that. Rooney, a five-member band hailing from Los Angeles attains their unique and modern emo meets rock sound by “combining sounds of the last four decades,” and in doing so creates a distinct sound unlike anything heard before.

Rooney’s self-titled debut has only recently become a popular item. The lead singer and guitarist, Robert Carmine, is actually already known by many, but not for his music. Carmine recently played the leading man in Disney’s “The Princess Dairies” before beginning serious touring with the band. Having toured with bands such as Weezer and The Strokes, Rooney is now beginning the climb to success, and it shouldn’t take long to get there. Compared by critics to bands ranging in style from the Beatles to Weezer, Rooney is enjoyable for listeners with a variety of musical tastes.

Lyrically the album carries many emo themes, with all but three of the songs being about a girl in some capacity. The band’s latest single, however, is one of the aberrations to this pattern. “Blue Side” carries an extremely upbeat melody on top of an almost vintage guitar sound, making the sound both modern and classic at the same time. There is even a tambourine thrown in there and it simply all sounds amazing together.

The instrumentation found on the Rooney album is simply terrific, but the sound is also securely backed by terrific, clever and thought-provoking lyrics throughout the album. Although many of the song lyrics relate to females and dating, the subjects of the songs range from falling in love to being left behind. In the energetic “If It Were Up to Me,” the song tells of a boy yearning to tell a girl how he feels about her. Carmine reveals his feelings to her in a unique way singing, “I want you to know I’ve done our charts / And it says that we work as one / Like the Jackson Five and The Temptations.” It is fun, distinctive lyrics like this, set to Rooney’s unique blend of music, that make this album a project of such quality and excellence. Another clear example of this quality is shown in the song “Sorry Sorry” where heavy repetition is used to describe an extremely unusual subject. Throughout the song, a guy approaches a girl and introduces himself saying, “Having seen the future … I’m sorry sorry for making your life a living hell”. Although all these elements seem almost comically ridiculous, they work together extraordinarily well.

The album as a whole is spectacular. Rooney brings so many different elements together to create their unique sound, and that is just what they create, a sound that is exclusively Rooney. At times the lyrics can be a bit typical of the emo style of music, but even those clichés are rare throughout the album. Rooney is a group of artists, which becomes exceedingly apparent as the album progresses. It is an album that transcends typical music genres and begins to develop a category that belongs exclusively to the band. Expect to see much more of Rooney very soon.

Contact Rebecca Saunders at rsaunder@nd.edu