The frighteningly prolific Weezer front man returns to his roots, offering a relatively modest collection of demos, some culled from Weezer’s aborted rock opera “Blast Off!” With a running time of 45 minutes — it was initially going to be a two-disc affair — “Home Recordings” feels like the tip of the iceberg. “Alone” displays Cuomo’s Brian Wilson-like home experimentation, layering multiple tracks and toying with non-traditional rock sounds. The best tracks recall a time before Cuomo’s increasingly sporadic songwriting began to lean towards the pop-metal sounds found on the band’s “Maladroit” and “Make Believe.”
The sound quality is predictably iffy, with the operatic “The World We Love So Much” suffering significantly. Structurally, the majority of the songs sound like vintage Weezer (including an early take on “Buddy Holly,” one of the band’s first big radio hits). Cuomo’s heart-on-his-sleeve lyrics and heartfelt vocals, which helped design the blueprint of modern emo, are especially evident here, undisturbed by studio polish or multiple takes. There’s a lot more screaming and sloppy guitar work than on the blue album or “Pinkerton,” which in the years since its commercial failure in 1996, has become one of emo’s holy texts.
The most curious track is undoubtedly the singer’s crazed take on Ice Cube’s “The Bomb” with some hyperactive drumming and some ear-splitting guitar shredding. The catchy “Wanda” and “Little Diane,” which shamelessly imitates Green Day, would fit in nicely with Weezer’s repertoire of songs with female names for titles.