Lingering Blue

Jude Universer (AKA the Demon Beat‘s Jordan Hudkins) mugged Rivers Cuomo. He got some spare change, an Almond Joy and Cuomo’s potential.

It’s okay, though. Other than the tasty Almond Joy, the Weezer frontman apparently doesn’t have much use for any of the goods Hudkins filched. Not since I was 16, in the millennium before this one, has Cuomo had much use for the chunky, fuzzy melodies Jude Universer tosses off effortlessly. It’s a verve that can only be perpetuated among the under-30, and maybe someday Hudkins will have to surrender too, but for now the wiggle in his walk and the giggle in his talk make for an incredibly engaging CD.

Oh, I mean Lingering Blue, the follow-up to last year’s Moon Bamboo. Released on Shepherdstown’s Big Bullet Records, the album comes in the midst of a slew of BBR releases (notably the Demon Beat’s Shit, We’re 23–also out this month–and the Terminal Ballistics, Vol. 1 compilation from earlier this fall). BBR has a degree of variety in its offerings, but I’d have to say that these Jude Universer releases push a little farther than the rest.

While Moon Bamboo built a daydream raft and sailed across seas of glee, Lingering Blue is a little sturdier and a little more sure of itself. It stands on the shore and reflects a bit before tossing itself against the waves, though the album’s last track, “Put Me On The Moon”, brings everything back to classic quirky form.

Songs like “Oh Kay” are playful and sincere, but they move aside for the blocky,┬ásci-fi geek goodness of “Time Travel”. It’s a great balance, and they all reveal Hudkins’s willingness to stretch lyrically. So many small-label acts find a single good hook and cling to it for grim death, but Lingering Blue tears through approaches one after another and shows Mr. Universer zeroing in on something. Provided he doesn’t wander off to study English at Harvard, he just may swipe the aging Cuomo’s corner of the market.

EDIT: Also, I really wanted to make a pun about other bands enrolling in the Jude Universerty of music making, but I couldn’t fit it in. So there.