Fountains of Wayne
is Brian Young
and Jody Porter.
We enjoy that power-pop Beatles-like thing they do
Published: Apr 8th, 2007
Author: John Soeder
Source: The Plain Dealer
Plain Dealer Pop Music Critic KAZUMICHI KOKEIFountains of Wayne -- from left, Chris Collingwood, Jody Porter, Adam Schlesinger and Brian Young -- weave classic rock, new wave and power-pop influences into their new album, "Traffic and Weather." Fountains of Wayne "Traffic and Weather" (Virgin)
Fountains of Wayne scored a Top 30 smash in 2003 with "Stacy's Mom," but I've always been partial to "That Thing You Do!" penned by bass player Adam Schlesinger for the Tom Hanks-directed film of the same title.
The movie traces the rise and fall of a one-hit-wonderful band. It's also about the power of music and how a single ultracatchy song (in this case, a perfect evocation of British Invasion-era magic) can rock your world.
Lucky for us, such tunes are in abundance on "Traffic and Weather," FOW's fourth studio effort. Schlesinger and singer-guitarist Chris Collingwood serve as chief tunesmiths, with guitarist Jody Porter and drummer Brian Young nicely rounding out the group.
If you're old enough to remember the Beatles (at least vaguely) and if you enjoyed living through the new-wave and power-pop glory days of the 1970s, these guys speak your language. On "Traffic and Weather," backwards-sounding guitar solos straight out of "Revolver" coexist with Cars-like synthesizer hooks.
Schlesinger and Collingwood have not only access to a seemingly unlimited supply of addictive melodies, but also keen eyes for the human condition. The lyric booklet reads like a series of sharply drawn vignettes.
In "Someone to Love," the lives of two lonely people -- Coldplay-loving lawyer Seth Shapiro and "King of Queens"-watching photo retoucher Beth Mackenzie -- intersect in the big city, against a backdrop of chugging guitars.
The priceless " '92 Subaru" may be the umpteenth automotive love song, although few are as fun as this one, complete with a driver who negotiates turns "like peace in the Middle East."
For all we know, he could be the same dude who flirts with the namesake of "Yolanda Hayes," a Fab Fourish ode to a clerk at the department of motor vehicles.
And those are just the first three cuts on "Traffic and Weather." More kicks abound, from the Doritos-munching utopia described by the stoned narrator of "Planet of Weed" to the Beach Boys-style harmonies of "This Better Be Good" to the insistent title cut, whose chorus looks to any given newscast for an irresistible pickup line: "We belong together / Like traffic and weather." A