Rivers Cuomo: Alone: the home recordings of Rivers Cuomo

By Rebecca Barry Hill

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Label: Geffen
Verdict: Weezer man's solo stuff should come with a free four-track

Weezer have always been a pretty slick rock act so to hear their eccentric frontman at his rawest is a rare treat. Rivers Cuomo made several demos long before he'd made it big with his bandmates, and this is their brave unveiling.

Even in 1992, Cuomo was experimenting with moods, textures and effects, as evident on the haunting The World We Love So Much.

Others are cast-offs from an unfinished space-rock concept album, Songs from the Black Hole, such as Dude, We're Finally Landing, an amusing barbershop confection.

To say this is rough'n'ready is an understatement, as much of it is Cuomo getting used to the technicalities of his equipment. But the jagged rhythms, occasionally out-of-tune vocals and distorted recording make this creative blueprint of his career an endearing listen.

Hearing Buddy Holly in its crudest form, complete with ooeyooeyoo effects is evidence that Cuomo's songwriting talent was flourishing way before the band got a major record contract.

Perhaps most impressive of all is his cover of Ice Cube's The Bomb.

It's not exactly radio fare but any songwriter looking for inspiration from a one-man band with a number-8-wire mentality will find it here.

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