It may sound fuddy-duddy, but to most baby-boomer ears, rock bands whose members are under the age of 40 just don’t sound good. They don’t get it, they have,/I> no history, and they know no history of pop/rock music.
That’s why it’s always a thrill to hear a new Fountains of Wayne record. One album full of their mix of pop, rock, and everything in between can tide one over for a few years. The band’s new disc, Traffic and Weather, more than holds up to the expectations built up by 2003’s Welcome Interstate Managers.
Adam Schlesinger and Chris Colling-wood are the band’s songwriters, and here they’re joined by Jody Porter on guitar and Brian Young on drums. And the fellas, young as they are, most definitely get it. Their songs have incredible lyrical and musical hooks, but maintain an air of mystery that allows something new to show up with every listen.
The lead single, “Someone to Love” is the perfect power pop single. It’s got a great sing-along chorus backed by a beat that is irresistible, and a bridge that brings to mind the Beatles’ “Rain,” followed quickly by “’92 Suburu,” which is one of those clever wonders that this band supplies at the drop of a hat; its stompin’ classic rock rhythm guitar couples with a chorus that is impossible not to sing along with. It should be pointed out the guitars on Fountains of Wayne records are impeccable. There are no blistering solos. Yes, you might hear eight or 12 bars of tasty solo, but mostly the guitars build the songs like bricks in a house. Calling these guys craftsmen would be the musical understatement of the year.
There are enough songs worth mentioning, starting with the very funny “Yolanda Hayes,” where our protagonist hits on the woman working at the DMV. “Revolving Dora” could easily have been a hit in 1966. “Strapped For Cash” is a ’70s-flavored tribute with a funny lyric. And there are many more.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jul. ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.