Fountains of Wayne
is Brian Young
and Jody Porter.
The 'Traffic' is catchy and the 'Weather' is fun on Fountains of Wayne's latest
Published: Apr 6th, 2007
Author: Tom Liljegren
Source: The Utah Statesman
It takes a band with an interesting sense of humor to name themselves after a New Jersey lawn ornament store as it's often reported that Fountains of Wayne has done. And that offbeat perspective is part of every song they write.
The band is known for writing catchy songs with humorous lyrics, as their hit "Stacey's Mom" from their "Welcome Interstate Mangers" would attest. On "Traffic and Weather," the band's new album, they pick up right where they left off with more catchy power pop.
"Someone to Love," the opening of song from "Traffic and Weather," exhibits exactly what makes Fountains of Wayne such a likable and interesting band.
On the surface, it may sound a little like the Killers with new-wave electronic synthesizers and a heavy dance-beat rhythm on the chorus. However, songwriters Adam Schlesinger (who has also written songs for the movies "That Thing You Do" and "Music and Lyrics") and Chris Collingwood's lyrics are full of literate, cultural references like "It's Thursday night she should be out on the scene / but she's sitting at home watching 'The King of Queens'" that portray a unique vision of modern-day loneliness.
While Fountains of Wayne may sound like a power-pop band, they've always reached back to pop, R&B and even some country traditions to bolster their music, like using a sugary harmony, vocals and hand claps in their hit "Stacy's Mom." On the new album's standout song "Yolanda Hayes," they combine a guitar and piano riff that could have been taken from late '60s Motown with a sunny pop harmony.
Few of the songs on the album are as immediately catchy or memorable as "Someone to Love" and "Yolanda Hayes," and some, like on the simplistic "Revolving Dora," fall flat. But most of the songs are worth listening to due to Schlesinger and Collingwood's interesting lyrics and knack for melody.
Few artists could turn baggage claims, truck stops and airplane seats into interesting song ideas, but Fountains of Wayne thrives on the mundane and overwhelmingly normal symbols of suburbia and mass-market society. They provide a soundtrack of modern life without ever sounding too serious or depressing as many other bands with the same message often do.
This isn't the band's best work (2003's "Welcome Interstate Managers" and 1999's "Utopia Parkway" are both stronger albums) but it still makes for a catchy, fun and thoughtful listen.