In House #1841: Fountains of Wayne's Traffic & Weather
The Fountains of Wayne returned this week with their first album in four years, entitled Traffic & Weather. The release is once again the kind of schizophrenic but catchy pop pastiche the band has become known for over the years, in other words meaning you're in luck if hooks and harmonies are your thing, but don't come around here looking for an album that plays out well as a cohesive whole. That said, there's plenty to like here, even if the band will probably never equal the quality of their first couple of releases. Adam Schlesinger once again turns an observant, sometimes critical, often hilarious eye on the current cultural milieu of the middle class, peppering his songs with pop culture references and name-checking everything from Guns & Roses to The Gap to King of Queens. Such content has in the past helped the band nail one-liners like, "I saw you talkin'/ To Christopher Walken/ On my TV screen," and "The Buick's in the drive/ It's great to be alive," and it continues to set the band apart here, though it doesn't necessarily make for content that is relevant past next week. Still, despite a misstep here and there and an album that is four songs too long, it's hard to resist the countryish pop of "Fire In the Canyon," and the lovesong (with truckstop commentary) "I-95." The Fountains of Wayne still make pleasurably if slightly nerdy pop music, it just feels a little more guilty than it has in the past.
Fountains of Wayne
In House #1841.
Focus: New release from the Fountains of Wayne, Traffic & Weather, plus new music from Feist, TigerCity, Albert Hammond Jr., and more.
Joseph Arthur & the Lonely Astronauts, from Let's Just Be (due 4/17):
In House PODCAST #288