Nerf Herder

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IV Review

by Andrew Leahey

Weezer and Green Day may be among the most successful punk-pop veterans of the 2000s, but Nerf Herder deserve their own set of accolades for soldiering into their second decade with the band's original lineup intact. For better or worse, Nerf Herder's musical formula also remains the same, and IV offers a snarky selection of tracks about garage sales, golf shirts, and Led Zeppelin. Returning fans will enjoy this familiar mix of tongue-in-cheek wordplay and power-trio punk pummeling, even if IV's loyalty to a dwindling genre might rub other listeners the wrong way. While Green Day reinvented themselves into contemporary chart-toppers with American Idiot, Nerf Herder remain indebted to the irreverent sounds of '90s rock, and the absence of 21st century indicators (such as "Jenna Bush Army," which firmly rooted the band in the Dubya era on 2002's American Cheese) only heightens the illusion that IV could very well be a mid-'90s record. There's not much to separate this from Weezer's Blue Album or the Presidents of the United States of America's 1995 debut, apart from IV's crisp production and Nerf Herder's willingness to embellish their sound with Farfisa organs ("Manatee"), synths ("Oh Me, Oh My"), and Wurlitzer-aping keyboards ("High School Reunion"). Comparisons to Weezer and the Presidents aren't necessarily negative, however, particularly for a mischievous band whose idea of unrequited love (as detailed during "Garage Sale") is the discovery that their ex-girlfriends have been re-selling their old gifts for heartbreakingly low prices.

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