Not to be confused with Paul Rooney’s 90s UK indie band, this Californian Rooney have toured with Weezer and the Strokes. The band is now down to a solitary member, Robert Schwartzman, who writes, produces and performs almost all the songs here, bringing varying moods to a default mode of sunny powerpop. The excellent Why sees him sharing vocal duties with French singer/actor Soko, and could be a more bubblegum Strokes. Elsewhere, Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow bears the unlikely influence of Maxïmo Park and the Futureheads’ frenetic north-east guitar pop. Schwartzman can tip from sugary into saccharine, and Don’t Be a Hero (inexplicably, co-written with James Blunt) pastiches the Beach Boys’ Kokomo with the line “Corona, tequila, a little marijuana … ” to cringeworthy effect. However, Sad But True, written for his directorial debut, Dreamland, is a beautifully sea-soaked, Dennis Wilson/Jimmy Webb-style piano ballad. It suggests greater depths that Schwartzman should explore more often.
Dave Simpson is a Guardian music critic and author