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Alternative & Indie - Released April 9, 1999 | Maverick

Somewhere between the surprise success of The Return of the Rentals and the draining tour for Weezer's second album, Pinkerton, the Rentals became more than a side project for Matt Sharp. He wound up leaving Weezer and devoting himself to the Rentals, setting out to record their second record in London in late 1996. With the exception of Kevin March, who replaces Weezer drummer Patrick Wilson, the supporting band remains the same on Seven More Minutes as it does on the debut, but there's a major difference here. Where The Return of the Rentals was a kind of kitschy new wave tribute, Seven More Minutes is designed to prove that this is a real band, capable of all kinds of styles and sounds. To that effect, Sharp lined up an impressive list of guest artists to flesh out the sound even more. Not a bad idea in theory, but there's a problem that a record boasting cameos from Damon Albarn, Donna Matthews, Miki Berenyi, and Tim Wheeler feels something like a Brit-pop hangover. To Sharp's credit, he throws out enough different styles to keep such impressions from solidifying, but that has a countereffect of making the record sound too diffuse, especially on initial plays. With repeated spins, several songs -- the dynamic opener "Getting By," the exuberant "Barcelona," the jangling "She Says It's Alright" -- catch hold, but the whole project never really gels. It may have been done as a lark, but The Return of the Rentals had a breezy sense of fun that gave it coherence. Seven More Minutes proves that the Rentals are more than just a side project, but it finds them searching for a distinctive identity when, ironically, they had one when they were just a side project. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 20, 1995 | Maverick

Alongside his stint as the bass player for the ever-beloved Weezer, Matt Sharp found time to put out a record from a little side project of his, and unknowingly dropped a surprisingly influential album on the ears of many a listener. Taking a bit of the harmony loving pure-pop songwriting skills honed in his other band, Sharp topped off the Rentals with plenty of Moog powered keyboard flair and ended up with an album that ushered back in a new wave of cheesy electro-keyboard pop with a restored spirit and a knack for unforgettable hooks. From the radio hit "Friends of P" to the clunky opener of "The Love I'm Searching For," Return of the Rentals has few moments that aren't bursting with catchy choruses and lovelorn sentiments. Helping out is a cast that includes Weezer drummer Pat Wilson, and most noticeably, That Dog's Petra Hayden, whose sugary vocals make for some of the disc's most timeless moments. Convincing a new generation of kids that new wave could still be cool, the Rentals' first record may have been a fluke, but it really doesn't matter. Sure, their later recordings were nowhere near as innocent and memorable, but this record is a real benchmark of carefree pop from the '90s and shouldn't be forgotten anytime soon. ~ Peter J. D'Angelo
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 19, 2019 | The Rentals

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 22, 2014 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 12, 2011 | Ernest Jenning Record Co.

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 5, 2019 | The Rentals

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 3, 2019 | The Rentals

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 23, 2014 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 4, 2014 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 22, 2014 | Polyvinyl Records

The Rentals' third official album isn't as ambitious as the project that occupied Matt Sharp's life in 2009. That year was spent on the Songs About Time box set of films, photos, and music, including three EPs of songs about the passage of time and the mixed feelings that come along with it. For the band's 2014 album on Polyvinyl, Lost in Alphaville, Sharp cherry-picked ten songs from Time and re-recorded them in much more fleshed-out and powerful fashion, with contributions from longtime collaborator Lauren Chipman, Ozma guitarist Ryen Slegr, Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, and, as Sharp's all-important vocal foils, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of the group Lucius. A truly modern collaborative effort where the people on the record never even met, Sharp recorded the basic tracks with Slegr in L.A., flew to Nashville to get Carney's powerful drumming on tape, and took his studio on the road to New York City to add Wolfe and Laessig's angelic tones. Sharp also kept some of the sounds from the Songs About Time sessions, including vocals by the West Los Angeles Children's Choir on two songs and Joey Santiago's flaming guitar leads on "Song of Remembering." After getting everything recorded, Sharp spent a mind-expandingly long time arranging the sounds before turning it over to D. Sardy for the final mix. After such a convoluted process, there was a good chance the record would sound overcooked and stale. Far from it, Lost in Alphaville is a huge-sounding modern indie rock album with a glossy sheen on the surface, but all kinds of heart beating just below. Carney's drums power things ahead like a locomotive, Slegr's guitars provide just the right amount of crunch, and Sharp's well-placed vintage synths are perfect candy-coating on top. Though the women of Lucius don't have the same homespun appeal of some of Sharp's past vocalists, their dulcet tones fit the mix perfectly, and when they take the lead, like on "Damaris" or "The Future," they sound quite lovely. Through it all, Sharp's everyman vocals, thoughtful lyrics, and downcast personality ground things like he's a wistful indie rock Charlie Brown, holding on tight to his melancholy as the world swirls around him. It's an act that never grows old, especially when he writes songs as fist-pumpingly rocked-out as "Traces of Our Tears," "Thought of Sound," and "1000 Seasons." Balancing them with ballads as heart-tuggingly sincere as "It's Time to Come Home" and "Stardust" or songs that show the results of all the time Sharp spent arranging them (the spacy and beautiful album capper "The Future") gives the album a rounded, complete feeling that makes it the equal of early Rentals album, and maybe even better. Certainly more mature and thoughtful, with no "Friends of P" in sight, but plenty of songs that sound like timeless hits, and plenty of powerfully felt and delivered songs that hit hard right in the nostalgia zone, drawing blood and tears with every blow. ~ Tim Sendra