It was the openly emotional songwriting of Weezer’s 1996 album, Pinkerton, that brought the band to cult status, but soon after that, frontman Rivers Cuomo changed tack and instead began trying to craft perfect pop songs that were clinical and calculated rather than honest and vulnerable. That vision was best realised on 2001’s Green Album, but since then the law of diminishing returns has set in, with the odd impressive exception (Pork and Beans or Memories, for example). Here they are reunited with Cars singer Ric Ocasek, who produced their eponymous debut, and while there are flashes of the power-pop skill with which Cuomo made his name (I’ve Had It Up to Here, Ain’t Got Nobody), there are some real stinkers in the mix, too, including Back to the Shack – a self-referential ode to the good old days that feels as indifferent as it is self-indulgent. Fans may see this album as a return to form, but probably only in part.
Lanre Bakare is the Guardian's arts and culture correspondent