Welcome Interstate Managers
label: S-Curve Records / EMI
our score: 4.5 out of 5.0
their first self-titled album in 1996, Fountains of Wayne have
been masters at the craft of perfecting the pop song. Not only
have their lyrics continually walked the fine line between humor,
poignancy and "hummability," but they've also continually
mastered the musical end as well. Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood
(the founding members of Fountains of Wayne) possess a set of
ears tuned into what has made pop music endure throughout its
history, and incorporate these bits thoroughly in their work,
ultimately combining the best of 60's pop harmony, 70's rock sensibility,
80's production gloss, and 90's "alternative" rock into
what are quite possibly the epitome of pop music. And they have
done this with every album.
embracement has continually eluded the band. Sure, some people
might remember "Radiation Vibe" and "Sink to the
Bottom" - but you're more likely to find recognition with
the casual listener by mentioning the fact that they are the ones
behind the theme to Comedy Central's "Crank Yankers"
show, or that Adam Schlesinger is the guy who wrote "That
Thing You Do" for the Tom Hanks film of the same title.
years since the release of their last album, Utopia Parkway,
Fountains of Wayne still remain extremely relevant in the music
scene - perhaps even more so now than ever. With artists like
Eminem and The Streets providing the voice for the disillusioned
young adult, Fountains of Wayne continue to offer the same voice
- but for the everyman.
said, Welcome Interstate Managers is as musically relevant
as The Streets, only Fountains of Wayne speak for the rest of
us: the lovers and dreamers who occupy most of everyday life.
Where Original Pirate Material focused on the grit of
life through an equally gritty garage sound, Welcome Interstate
Managers, like most Fountains of Wayne, visits the sunnier
side of an overwhelmingly bittersweet life. This is especially
true on ballads like "All Kinds of Time" (which uses
a football quarterback's time between the snap and the impending
tackle as a metaphor for life) and the R.E.M.-esque piano of "Halley's
Waitress" (which also ventures into Ben Folds Five "Regrets"
Interstate Managers closely follows Fountains of Wayne's
earlier work on their self-titled debut and Utopia Parkway,
although there are instances where they've encountered minor expansions
as well - like the country-influenced "Hung Up On You"
(featuring some excellent lap-steel work to boot).
all's said and done, Welcome Interstate Managers isn't
really a bold move from Fountains of Wayne, and if you didn't
get them before you probably won't get them now - which is unfortunate.
Because honestly, if all pop music were this good, there'd be
no reason to bitch about pop music ever again.
liked Welcome Interstate Managers...
2. Bright Future in Sales
3. Stacy's Mom
5. No Better Place
6. Valley Winter Song
7. All Kinds of Time
8. Little Red Light
9. Hey Julie
10. Halley's Waitress
11. Hung Up On You
12. Fire Island
13. Peace and Love
14. Bought for a Song
16. Yours and Mine