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Fountains of Wayne | Sky Full Of Holes

For the past 15 years, Fountains of Wayne have been adding their trademark touches of sharp storytelling, catchy guitar hooks and intensely rich melodies to their portfolio of power pop.  Fronted by Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood, this NY based band has always been out of step with what was happening in terms of music from 90s grunge and rap rock to the way-too-cool indie bands of today. It’s no wonder they’re still admired by nerdy critics, but ignored by the masses.

Despite mediocre reviews for 2007’s “Traffic and Weather”, you just have to dig a little deeper into their discography and you get to know why “Sky Full Of Holes” isn’t the power pop album I was expecting. 1999’s “Utopia Parkway” addresses the end of adolescence; 2003’s “Welcome Interstate Managers” reflects on post college doldrums; 2007’s “Traffic and Weather” focuses on thirty-something single life and “Sky Full Of Holes” finds FOW finally settling into adulthood.

I guess it’s not easy trying to write about a protagonist in “The Summer Place” who daydreams about her days as a teenage shoplifter and swallows psychedelic mushrooms by the handful to alleviate her grown up boredom. The business partners in “Richie and Ruben” have not given up their dreams, but considering they cannot organize a piss up in a brewery, illustrated by a long list of failures recounted by Collingwood, maybe that’s not a good thing.

More middle age subjects dominate the proceedings with tracks like “Action Hero” (parenthood), “A Dip In The Ocean” (boring family vacations) and “Hate To See You Like This” (clinical depression) which may make “Sky Full Of Holes” probably their most un-hip Fountains of Wayne album yet, but that is really saying something. The lack of power pop tunes may disappoint long time fans, but Sky Full Of Holes sees a band mellowing with age still writing about small time folk in quirky scenes. More power (pop) to them and long may they continue.

– Kieven Yim

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