Fountains of Wayne

Welcome Interstate Managers

/s-curve; 2003/




more info : 

I haven't felt this down since the day Justin Gratenbreger cheated on me with Julie Scotts. I was in sixth grade and I got a taste of what it would be like to be myself. Both died shortly after in a Jet-ski accident I had nothing to do with.

I knew I would love the album, even if it had been Utopia Parkway 2. But, hey, it's not. I'm probably overanalyzing the band but since they recorded Utopia Parkway right after a long tour filled with catchy songs from the band's debut album they needed some rest. Consequently, despite Denise, Utopia Parkway is more adult, mellower and not really satisfying. But things have changed, Adam Schlesinger's almost as fat as Chino Moreno and they feel like rocking again. Here's a glimpse of what awaits you:

He was killed by a cellular phone explosion / they scattered his ashes into the ocean / the water was used to make baby lotion / the wheels of promotion were set into motion / but the sun still shines in the summertime / I'll be yours if you'll be mine / I tried to change but I changed my mind / think I'll have another glass of Mexican wine.


At first I thought that the album was a little too long, 16 songs and 55 minutes, but I seem to enjoy Fountains of Wayne the way I enjoy sex: the more the merrier.  So, to be brief, it's not as good as their outstanding debut and much better than Utopia Parkway. The album oscillates between power pop anthems which could kick Avril Lavigne's lovely ass out of the charts and cute love songs. But unlike in Utopia Parkway the sentimental euphoria that filled the band's debut is undeniably present here. This is shameless pop, and even though it's sometimes covered in cheese (Stacy's Mom, perfect teen movie soundtrack material) I really can't help but enjoy this.

I wish I could shout out loudly "Fountains of Wayne saved my life" but they didn't, really. The second half of the album is a little less exciting, it would have been just as great if they had kept the 10 first tracks and ended it with the cute and totally cheesy Halley's Waitress, which is about waiting for a waitress to bring dinner. Darling don't you know / we miss you when you go.

I told you they were funny. They write songs, that's what they do, and well, they do it well and without pretension. I guess humor is their mean of staying humble. If it weren't for the jokes these guys would be Oasis. They're great storytellers and they almost never miss. I felt like saying that the songs in the end of the album were b-side material but even if it would be valid with another band it's not with the Fountains of Wayne : the b-sides to the singles from the previous albums totally ruled. Most of the Utopia Parkway b-sides were better than the album songs. Maybe they didn't really know which songs to use, and I guess that putting 16 tracks on Welcome Interstate Managers was a safe move. The album's overall quality and cohesion suffers but, even if they didn't top their outstanding debut, they recorded an album which is much more enjoyable than Utopia Parkway. Be prepared, people of Earth, the mighty Fountains of Wayne are back. 

-Barbara H

/june 1st 2003/