Fountains of Wayne
is Brian Young
and Jody Porter.
Fountains of Wayne (at last!) has hot new CD
Published: Jul 13th, 2005
Author: Robert Johnson
Source: San Antonio Express-News
An odds-and-ends compilation album is rarely a cause for celebration — except when it involves a band as good and as stingy as Fountains of Wayne.
The New York power-pop quartet led by songwriters Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood has yet to make a bad record. Unfortunately, they've made a measly three in nine years — "Fountains of Wayne" (1996), "Utopia Parkway" (1999) and "Welcome Interstate Managers" (2003).
That's why the double disc "Out-of-State Plates" (Virgin) is such a delight. Yes, casual fans who know the band only from the hit "Stacy's Mom" may not care, but this modestly priced compilation is an all-you-can-eat buffet for true believers.
Fountains of Wayne has actually released lots more material than the 42 tunes appearing on the three studio albums — it's just that much of it was tough to get. Nineteen of the 28 "Plates" tunes were available only on international singles. The group's semi-famous cover of Britney Spears' " ... Baby One More Time" was available only as a bootleg after airing on Howard Stern's radio show.
There are two new tunes — the peppy single "Maureen" and "The Girl I Can't Forget" — plus a couple of Christmas tunes from a 1997 EP that wasn't widely distributed.
Amazingly, there are few throwaways. Some tracks tacked onto the early singles are as good as the A-sides, suggesting the band missed a bet by not squeezing in a second CD between the debut and "Utopia Parkway." And a wide, wild assortment of covers (Spears, ELO, Jackson Browne, Bacharach/David, Aztec Camera, Gene Pitney) suggests an amazing record collection.
Having a self-deprecating sense of humor doesn't hurt, either. The CD's auto-junkyard art offers a sly commentary on the material. Concerning the cover of ELO's "Can't Get It Out of My Head," Schlesinger wrote of the joys of recording live tracks in huge arenas: "No one needs to know that we were the opening act and that all those people were there to see the Smashing Pumpkins."