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July 17, 2024

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The Rentals
Seven More Minutes (Maverick Recording Company)

By: Alex Steininger

Led by Matt Sharp, The Rentals are back with their second full-length, packed full of the same pop hooks, moog and synthesizers, and cleverness that made their debut such a brilliant pop record. Taking things a few steps further, the band advances on their sound and delivers one of the best pop records of 1999.

Opening with "Getting By," the first single, The Rentals quickly get you bouncing around with a smile on your face that goes ear to ear. The rhythm section puts forth a blaze of sounds to keep you tapping, while the guitar screams with some fuzzy hooks. It is the organ and the vocals, though, that warm up the song and make it the pop smash it is. So sunny and bright, they'll have you singing along with their infectious melodies within ten seconds flat -- if that.

"Hello, Hello," like "Getting By," features that dog's Petra Haden on vocals. Her sweet voice adds a lush sound to the already lush pop garden in which all these songs grow. The dual vocals add an even sugary touch to the song, while the band keeps the backbone edgy; the song is pop, but a quick, tasty pop treat loaded with energy that will have you bouncing off walls and eating up the verses and chorus each time they come your way.

What this band can do with a moog is just amazing. As it sparkles in the background, the band keeps you on the edge of your seat with some bouncy, fierce pop as much fun as it is powerful. Such is the case with "Barcelona," another slab of pop heaven found herein on this album. Harmonizing and backing vocals provided courtesy of Maya Rudolph; Sharp's vocals play well with hers and the band is able to create a rich, harmonious vocal atmosphere to give the song the lift it needs to get stuck in your head for days on end.

On "Overlee," featuring Petra Haden and Matt Sharp on vocals, and Ash's Tim Wheeler on six and twelve string acoustic guitars, The Rentals deliver a slower, but still juicy, pop nugget sure to once again fill you up with sufficient pop hooks and sweet melodies. Not as bouncy or sparkling as some of the others, the song shows the band's ability to stretch out, while still creating talented pop music.

"Insomnia" is the band's attempt at a fast-paced, loose punk number that rocks and rolls along with fuzzy guitars, distorted vocals, and a pounding rhythm section. Although it's not even close to as infectious as the band's solid pop gems, it still has an edge to it, and an attitude about it that draws you in, so you can't help but enjoy it.

"Jumping Around" shows the band stretching and experimenting more. A faint, distant pop number with a lo-fi taste to it, the band doesn't exactly go out in a bang (like they opened), but as you sit and listen, they'll have you in a state of thought. Thus, they've done their job, and will easily get you to go back to track one to enjoy the ride all over again.

It's been a while, but they're back, and better than ever. They're still the fun lovin', insanely infectious band you loved back when they released their debut, so why not give this album a listen? It's well worth it; I'll give it an A.

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