Fountains of Wayne
is Brian Young
and Jody Porter.
Fountains of Wayne, "Traffic and Weather"
Published: Apr 4th, 2007
Author: Sarah Schmelling
Source: Live Daily
Since the band's start more than a decade ago, Fountains of Wayne (music) has excelled at making perfect pop ditties about the drudgery (and occasional fun) of day-to-day American life. But they've never done this with more energetic precision than on "Traffic and Weather," the New York foursome's latest.
A buoyant catalog of subjects rarely honored in music--the baggage claim, the DMV, a '92 Subaru, a La Quinta Inn--this album could serve as a soundtrack to the TV show "The Office." Lonely people try to find meaning and connection on business flights, talking about Costco or moving to Liechtenstein, while roadside gift shops tout items "that say Virginia is For Lovers," a sad traveler notes, "but it's not."
Yet, this music is anything but bleak. Written by singer Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger--the man behind Hugh Grant's Wham!-like pop in the film "Music and Lyrics"--these songs dip into nearly every rock genre of the past 40 years. Going from geeked-out disco to country, echoing Tom Petty, The Beatles or The Beach Boys, the band giddily plays with noises and harmonies, taking pieces of the past and confecting them into something purely their own. Meanwhile, the music of some songs meshes eloquently with their themes: the dreamy I-95 seems to glide along with "the nine hour drive from me to you" roadtrip it describes, and in the slow, banjo waltz of "Seatbacks and Traytables" you can just see the floating plane full of weary passengers.
Certainly, FOW isn't trying a lot new here--these songs could just as easily fit on the last two albums. But there's something to be said for their continued creation of inventive odes to the unappreciated and mundane; in their saying, to every driver cut off on a highway, every person flagging a taxi in the rain and every low-tipped waitress looking for something better: we've got something good, just for you.