REVIEW: The Rentals – Lost In Alphaville

It feels like I’ve been waiting half my life for this album to come out. In fact, I almost have. When I first heard The Rentals’ debut album Return Of The Rentals I was about 14. That was 11 years ago. I was blown away by that album and it’s been one of my all time favourites ever since. But after their second album Seven More Minutes was released in 1999 the band seemed to drop off the radar apart from an EP in 2007 (The Last Little Life EP) and multimedia project in 2009 (Songs About Time). But finally afters year of waiting, we have a new album. I was ecstatic to say the least when the album was announced and even more excited when two tracks were released from it. It isn’t released until the 26th August but it’s able to stream online, and boy is it good.

It’s Time To Come Home starts with a tremolo guitar before launching into an incredible opening track. You immediately get the sense that this is a wonderful musical ‘sequel’ to Return Of The Rentals in terms of feel, sound and vibe. Matt Sharp sounds great on vocals and is backed up by two female singers, Jessica Wolfe and Holly Laessig. The inclusion of female singers really does stay true to the original sounds of the band, Cherielynn Westrich and the Haden sisters being the female singers on the debut album. It just sounds great on every level. Traces Of Our Tears features more of the same awesomeness (you can see where this is going). This one is more of a faster paced song than the opening track and is just as good, brimming with energy. The female vocals really shine on this one as well, as does the overall songwriting.

Stardust features some great guitar playing to open up the song along with background vocals before Matt Sharp comes in. Perfect. It’s a wonderfully produced track as well, as is the entire album. Matt Sharp did this himself with D. Sardy (Jay Z/LCD Soundsystem) mixing the tracks. Next up is 1000 Seasons, the second song to be released from the album as a teaser. This is yet another song that would fit perfectly on Return Of The Rentals especially with this gorgeous female backing vocals. Damaris is the first track on the album to feature a female voice as a lead alongside Sharp and it’s a great song with two parts to it, at least in my eyes. On one hand it features some solid guitar playing but on the other it’s quite mellow sounding, especially at the start. A modern day Rentals track right here, fantastic.

  1. It’s Time To Come Home
  2. Traces Of Our Tears
  3. Stardust
  4. 1000 Seasons
  5. Damaris
  6. Irrational Things
  7. Thought Of Sound
  8. Song Of Remembering
  9. Seven Years
  10. The Future

Irrational Things kicks off with a piano melody with guitar feedback over it before Matt Sharp comes in on vocals. Strings also feature here which adds to the whole feel of the song and gives the album another kind of dimension. What’s important to note at this point is there hasn’t been any filler tracks anywhere on the album so far, and that trend continues. What you get is nothing short of musical genius from Matt Sharp. Irrational Things is followed by the first single from the album, Thought Of Sound, a roaring song that (from experience) is a great driving song. A thunderous guitar opens the track before taking a backseat to Matt Sharp’s singing, then returning once more to full force in the huge chorus. It’s a great song, hard to argue with it being the first single. With every song that comes and goes on this album, you’re reminded of what a great band The Rentals were and still are right now. Song Of Remembering adds to that.

Seven Years and The Future round off a great album, the former straight out of the 90’s in terms of style while still retaining that modern sound and signature Rentals vibe. Seven Years is a beautiful song, especially the piano/guitar outro. Exquisite. The Future, the final song from Lost In Alphaville, is interesting to say the least. Completely different to every other song on the album, it’s an atmospheric wonderland.

I couldn’t be happier right now. This really is a great album in every single sense of the word.The songwriting from Matt Sharp is second to none, the production and musicianship is right up there as well. I can’t fault this album at all. It’s perfect. Faultless. I love it.

When I think of the Rentals I think of a number of things. Songwriting, female vocals, synths, strings. That’s just from Return Of The Rentals. This new album contains all of the same ingredients as that album does and finally brings the band into the 21st Century. Sure they’ve released an EP and multimedia project since 1999 but this cements them musically. They’re back and I hope this is the start of great things to come and the first of many more albums.

10/10

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3 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Rentals – Lost In Alphaville

  1. Gredge August 22, 2014 / 4:54 pm

    Given all those songs have been written in 2009, it makes me a bit nervous that Sharp hasn’t written anything new in almost 5 years. I hope we don’t wait this long again for a follow-up.

    • tomcaswell September 2, 2014 / 9:38 pm

      I think it’ll be fine, these songs are absolutely fantastic. He still has it. More so than Weezer right now who are well past it.

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