Sound: Rooney's sophomore release is catchy, quirky and charming. A most interesting aspect of Rooney's sound on 'Calling the World' is that they sound like a British band with a hint of Los Angeles class shining through. Songs like the title track are melodic pop rock numbers that should do well in the charts, particularly in the UK, due to the Oasis influences. With melodic solos to match the rhythmic chords and reflective vocals, Rooney may be seen by some as a band merely trying to top the charts. However, the three year gap between 'Calling the World' and their debut album epitomizes the band's tenacity.
Rooney lists bands such as the Ramones, The Clash and The Rolling Stones as influences, but one quickly notices that they lack the edge of these bands. It briefly shows on the track I should've been after you, but the section in question quickly fades into an electronic pop breakdown. It is difficult to be overly critical of a band with a track that manages to cleverly incorporate synthesizer and crushing guitar on Are they Afraid, with melancholic vocals wailing over the music and a neat guitar solo midway through the song. Rooney will never be a pioneer of their genre, but they do offer an album perfectly designed for the summer. // 7
Lyrics: Lyrically, Rooney doesn't offer anything new to the genre. It's all very well for background music, but with so many quality bands, past and present, in this genre, the vocals and lyrics truly are a downside to Rooney's sophomore attempt. The repetitive, wailing vocals can prove painful to the ears and front man, Robert Shwartzman's voice is a love it or hate it one. It's dreary, melancholic and slightly nasally in places. All three of these adjectives can be seen positively or negatively to be honest, sounding perfect in some places, but horribly clichd in others. // 6
Overall Impression: While some may perceive this album to be a poignant example of pop rock today, the fact is that although it's a great record, it's a very safe record. The ballad Help Me Find My Way includes an impressive string arrangement, but in the view of this listener, is a stereotypical rock ballad. That isn't always negative, but some originality is always appreciated. Perhaps Rooney wish to pay homage to their influences, but such a band shall never have their own distinctive sound, look or production. Calling the World is worth a listen, but will it be worth a listen twenty years from now? // 6