US band Weezer doesn’t always get the credit it deserves as it makes everything look so easy. But on Pacific Daydream, the band’s skills and ambitions lead to an impressive set of California-dreaming songs. The Beach Boys’ influence is heavy in the QB Blitz, where Rivers Cuomo laments not being one of the cool kids, before getting caught in a sweet Pet Sounds moment in the bridge, as he reveals, “I’ll be missing you like oxygen.” Sweet Mary feels like a wrenching update of the Beach Boys’ Don’t Worry Baby, in what feels like a dream sequence breakdown of sunny harmonies where Cuomo reveals, “When I am all on my own, one foot is in the grave, my sweet Mary comes to help me to find my way.”
Weezer also tests the concept’s boundaries, giving the first single Feels Like Summer a dub-influenced hip-hop groove to ride, and making Happy Hour sound like the ’80s R&B that Bruno Mars has mined. It all helps turn the new album into a well-crafted reality.