When Rooney's self-titled debut appeared in 2003, this young, well-connected (singer Robert Carmine is Francis Ford Coppola's nephew) and well-groomed (drummer Ned Brower is a former Gap model) L.A. quintet looked like a label-created, garage-rock boy band: a kind of Cobrasnake take on the guitar-driven "The" outfits then swaggering in from the East Coast and England. They've proved to be almost the opposite: a hard-touring group of musical mates who cared enough to scrap their crucial second album twice (it eventually appeared in 2007 as Calling the World) while earnestly pursuing harmony-hooked Cali-pop. The same silver-spoon circumstances that hurt Rooney's cred help their music, their dearth of desperation allowing them to patiently hew their Blur-y Beach Boys/Beatles/New Wave brew into a focused guilty pleasure. While their "people" may be clueless — once booking them with the likes of the Jonas Brothers, Kelly Clarkson and Fergie — Carmine & company know exactly what they're doing.


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