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Calling the World

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Album Review

Four years passed between Rooney's self-titled debut and its follow-up, Calling the World — virtually a lifetime when it comes to many listeners' attention spans. The band spent that time recording and scrapping two albums' worth of material and dealing with label problems; while waiting so long to release new music was a risky move, it probably wasn't as risky as releasing music they didn't believe in completely. As it turns out, Calling the World is a pretty safe bet. Musically speaking, nothing has changed drastically in the band's world since its debut: they still write boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, and boy-gets-over-girl songs, and they still have a knack for loading those songs with plenty of hooks, harmonies, and catchy melodies, all of which are especially apparent on "When Did Your Heart Go Missing?" and the feisty "Don't Come Around Again." However, Calling the World's songs aren't quite as sunny and innocent as Rooney's were. "Are You Afraid?" drives its question home with bombastic, claustrophobic keyboards and paranoid android backing vocals; "All in Your Head"'s insistence that a relationship is purely fictional is almost as cruel as it is catchy. Rooney also update their sound by expanding their influences by a few years, and at times, Calling the World feels like a collection of lost singles from the late '70s and early '80s: "I Should've Been After You"'s guitar heroics, lush buildups, and big harmonies take a page from Queen's playbook, and "Tell Me Soon" feels like a less quirky update of ELO's orchestral pop. Later, "Love Me or Leave Me"'s airy synths and "Paralyzed"'s chunky rhythms nod to new wave and straight-ahead '80s pop/rock. As faithfully as Rooney re-create these sounds on Calling the World, it sometimes feels like the band doesn't bring enough of its own identity to these songs. "What For" is an exception: yes, its limpid guitar lines and pianos can trace their lineage to George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, but the song's genuinely sweet sentiments make it one of the album's most unique songs. Calling the World might not be radically inventive, but its solid songcraft and playful shout-outs to rock history are a lot of fun.

Customer Reviews

Rooney sticks with the script and delivers!

Few bands can produce albums with the replay value that Rooney's first and second album here provide. The band itself shares a strong influence from great bands like The Beatles and Beach Boys, but the thing I love the most about the Rooney is their ability to incorporate musical stylings from the past four decades... from classic rock, blues and progressive to 80's synth, alternative rock and surf soul. I highly recommend this album to anyone.

Incredible second album

Rooney's first album is a perfect album. Every song on their debut is a gem, and I am beginning to think that their second album is almost the same. After four years of silence I was becoming worried that Rooney would not make anything else, but when their single came out I was hopeful that their second album would be very good, and I was right. This album sounds different than their first in that a good deal of the new songs sound more early 80's than their usual mid to late 70's powerpop. Are You Afraid? reminisces ELO and I Should've Been After You sounds like a forgotten Queen song, while others (When Did Your Heart Go Missing?, Paralyzed, All In Your Head, and Believe In Me) imitate the feel of 80's pop rock. The remaining tracks, save Help Me Find My Way (a great song, I thought of Keane when I heard this), including Calling the World, Tell Me Soon, Don't Come Around Again and Love Me or Leave Me come back to the sound of their first album, which are all really good songs. I enjoyed the album thoroughly and leaves me wanting to hear their third, which I do hope does not take another four years.

After 4 long years and two scrapped albums, they're back.

Rooney has finally compiled an album they feel is worth releasing, after passing on two others chock full of new material. I don't know what the other two sounded like, but based on what they present here they truly saved the best for last. Calling The World has the SoCal Pop sound that drew listeners 4 years ago, but it also shows the band's eagerness to expand their sound. They touch on several different eras and sounds, and do so mostly with success. Another good album from a fun band. Let's hope it's not 4 more years before we hear more from Rooney.


Formed: 2000 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Inspired by vintage pop music -- particularly melody-minded bands like the Beach Boys, ELO, and Superdrag -- Rooney held their earliest practices in a bandmember's garage in 2000. From the start, though, the group enjoyed connections that most garage bands lack: frontman Robert Carmine was the younger brother of actor/ex-Phantom Planet drummer Jason Schwartzman (not to mention the son of actress Talia Shire, cousin of Nicolas Cage, and nephew of Francis Ford Coppola), and both he and drummer Ned...
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Calling the World, Rooney
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Customer Ratings