When your previous name was “Are You My Mother?” And when you earned your rise to mainstream fame for writing a song about having eyes (and possibly other things) for your girlfriend’s mom, it’s hard for people to take you serious from then on. Fountains of Wayne have had eight years to try and mature since that song that brought them in to the public eye, and it sure does show with some aspects of this latest album, Sky Full of Holes. The quirky quartet, hailing from New York City, deliver a solemn but lively approach to life within the songs — many sounding as if they should be in a Hairspray-esque movie, with vocalist and guitarist Chris Collingwood singing his feelings to the world without prompt.
The band, completed by Adam Schlesinger (backing vox/bass), Jody Porter (Lead guitar) and Brian Young, (Drums) are set to release the album in America and Europe on August 2nd via Yep Yoc Records, and in Japan through Warner Music. Then, they’ll head out on an extensive tour starting in New York on August 5th and ending in San Francisco on October 15th.
The style of some songs reminisces early Oasis, but others follow the style of English pop band The Feeling. While fans might be looking for other “Stacey’s Mom” style songs (there are some on here), much of the album follows the kind of trend that “Hey Julie” did, a track from their third studio album, Welcome Interstate Managers.
“The Summer Place” hits first on Sky Full of Holes, bringing a sharp entrance to the album. It flows like a memory, talking about different things happening each year, and then bursting into the chorus each time, as the memory fades away. Immediately, you’ll notice these lyrics aren’t your normal radio-rock lines.
The lyricism of the album is, as always, slightly sketchy — it may be hard to catch the drift with some of the lyrics being seemingly strange. But then again, the album in whole is surreal, like it has its own charming setting surrounding it, making you paint wonderful pictures in your mind. It makes you question the meaning of why life is such a serious and monotonous task.
“Acela” does this exactly to the tee, painting the image of a majestic train right from the beginning. The song closely imitates early Oasis (perhaps the song “She’s Electric,”) with the guitar and vocal layout. The way the song sounds really does remind you of a train journey: as the drummer follows a wash ride beat using crash cymbals, it echoes the sound of the tracks beneath you. The beautifully played guitar in the foreground fits in crisply with the theme of the song, expressing (get it, express? The song is about a train!) not only the southern feeling but the feeling of good old gritty, close up music.
Finally, “Action Hero” is the kind of song that lovers of “Stacey’s Mom” should be gearing up to listen to. With lyricism that confuses you straight away if you hastily dive into it, you’ll need a few clear listens for the lyrics to begin to make sense, when it clicks in that the hero is, in fact, YOU. After all, everyone’s an action hero in their own heads, so people can relate to the song entirely.
Fountains of Wayne have matured greatly since earlier years, and have become more adapted to their audience. They have proven here, that while it may not be the truth for all bands, some are like wine: they get better with age.
Written by Regan Foy