Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Every time I get to writing about him, I tell myself it's the last time, but then you hear an album that does what he should be doing/used to be doing so very right, and it burns a hole in me. I can't keep the lid on and I roast Rivers Cuomo all over again, kicking the ground, punching the walls and bad-mouthing the horrible lyrical bed that he made and sleeps in so fucking comfortably. It's the ire that will never expire, it seems and it's unfortunate that we can't just accept that the man who made the "Blue Album" and "Pinkerton" died a long time ago and just forget about him forever. It just doesn't happen and we find ourselves thinking about him, by way of the good influence that he offered back in the 1990s, when Weezer was really something special and not a joke. The Phoenix, Arizona, one-man-band ROAR is what we can imagine to be a child of Cuomo's wide-spread power-pop influence, but just as much the offspring of Brian Wilson playing his piano in the middle of a sandbox filled with dog turds and Van Dyke Parks thinking about dreamy, ginger-scented girls, whose wholesomeness is unparalleled and boys who have the purest (sometimes with devils inside them) intentions toward them that we could possibly expect out of boys of any era. Owen Evans writes songs that are the new versions of romantic odes. They aren't the baby, baby, lovey dovey, romantic odes of the Phil Spector or Ronnie Spector times (the pair's black and white illustrations make up the front and back sleeves of ROAR's "I Can't Handle Change" vinyl album), but instead, they are the romantic odes of two young people in love with each other, who happen to casually and without incident cuss in conversation, who maybe talk about Michael Pollan books, who maybe don't have any problems with pornography and who aren't afraid to admit that they love the movies "Waitress" and "Kill Bill" equally and for similar reasons, oddly enough. The above description doesn't really matter at all. It's just an exercise in showing that classic love stories have changed, but here they are on "I Can't Handle Change." You hear the muggy, distorted guitar in "Just A Fan" that could have come right from "In The Garage," Cuomo's take on Wilson's "In My Room," and you hear within the doo-wop-y swings of these songs, a young man who just wants to spend his time holed up with the girl who comes as close to his dreams as he can ever hope to get and if that happens - if their hands fit snugly together - then he knows he could wish for nothing else. It's just about fitting together with another person who's uncannily like you in the important ways and it's about eating soup and sharing ice cream together, not worrying if your feet stink and enjoying the mundane and the thrilling all with the same kind of enthusiasm, then writing a love song about it all. Yes, that's what it's all about.