Fountains of Wayne
is Brian Young
and Jody Porter.
MUSIC REVIEW: Fountains of Wayne
Published: Jul 14th, 2005
Author: Melissa Ruggieri
Source: Richmond Times Dispatch
Some bands can work their whole careers trying to craft songs as scrumptiously wry and melodic as the leftovers offered by Fountains of Wayne.
For those who just looked at the name and thought it sounded vaguely familiar, yeah, they're the guys behind "Stacy's Mom," a fun, silly little confection that at least got the bills paid for the past year but is a mere thread in the FOW tapestry.
Each of the two discs on "Out-of-State Plates" begins with a few seconds of different radio interviews to remind you of the band's humor, then kicks into the two new tunes on this collection of bonus tracks, B-sides and other older material that needed to be heard.
If the whizzing keyboards, poppy background chorus and fleet drumming of "Maureen" don't appeal to your sense of harmony, then, frankly, you don't have one. Ditto "California Sex Lawyer" and "Janice's Party."
The ingredients that made FOW's last studio album -- 2003's "Welcome Interstate Managers," the undisputed best release of that year -- are slathered on every track of disc one. But disc two contains a few too many forays into purposely overstated country or reggae or songs that blend into an indistinguishable lump.
But those fantastic ingredients -- sharp humor cushioned by perfect jangly pop sometimes take a sweet turn, such as on "I Know You Well," an unabashed love song that revels in simple, guitar-strummed beauty rather than gloppiness. But what makes a song like that even more memorable is that it comes from the brains of the same guys who sing, without a trace of irony, "Lay it down, lay it down/You've got to cover a lot of ground/Lay it down, lay it down/Karpet king" on the aptly titled "Karpet King."
Sure, that sounds a tad elementary. But the genius that lurks inside head FOW guys Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger (joined by bandmates Jody Porter and Brian Young) is that a sublime version of Burt Bacharach's "Trains and Boats and Planes" and, on disc two, Howard Stern's favorite remake of Britney Spears' " . . . Baby One More Time" can sit alongside a song such as "Karpet." Much like Travis' version of the polished pop ditty, FOW's choice is to slow the song down and strip it to its surprisingly sad lyrics, a tactic that blessedly makes you forget, momentarily, that Spears' version still exists.
Even with this heaping array of scraps to feast on for a while, we can only hope that FOW is planning a speedy return to the studio. Pop music needs them. Now.