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Fountains of Wayne

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Traffic and Weather

Virgin

In the fourth and latest offering from the Fountains of Wayne, the band doles out more of the amusing storytelling and blimp-sized hooks that have made them America's reigning deities of power-pop. And yet the approach is starting to wear thin.

 

It starts out promising enough. "Someone to Love," a sugary gem powered by cheesy synthesizers, is a characteristically witty portrait of modern-day urban loneliness. And there is a smattering of like-minded snap, crackle and pop. "I-95" is an irresistibly whimsical portrait of a Stuckey's-type highway stop; "Yolanda Hayes" is a breezy trifle about a DMV clerk; and the title track, about horny TV news anchors, could be an outtake from Nick Lowe's "Pure Pop for Now People."

 

While the record is pleasant enough, ultimately the exercise feels a bit lifeless and synthetic. These guys need to shake things up before they wind up in the same rut as the New Jersey dudes that populate their songs.

 

"?Phil Bacharach

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