fountains of wayne, welcome interstate managers

Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers.On the same bowling trip I discovered The Darkness, I was also exposed to the video for "Stacy's Mom." It was my first experience with Fountains of Wayne and I was impressed with their infectious pop sensibility. Both Stacy and her Mom were pretty hot too, but I'm sure that had little to do with "Stacy's Mom" taking up residence in my mind.

After "Permission to Land," I had a very low level of expectation with regard to "Welcome Interstate Managers." Fountains of Wayne however, knows how to make not only a coherent but a fantastic, witty, addicting album and has left me awed at the quality and execution from the first listen through three weeks of heavy rotation. There is not a track on the album I dislike, but I find myself looking forward to "Bright Future in Sales," "Stacy's Mom," "Hey Julie," "Little Red Light," and "Peace and Love" marginally more than the other songs. It is not a significant margin by any stretch of the imagination. The tunes range from the straight forward, well executed pop of "Stacy's Mom" and "Bright Future in Sales" to songs playing as homage to the likes of Gordon Lightfoot ("Valley Winter Song"), Simon and Garfunkle ("Hey Julie") and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band ("Hung Up On You").

The lyrics are masterfully sardonic observations of popular culture. Topics range from the stock theme of the broken hearted, jilted lover torn between reconciliation and revenge to ruminations on the reality of the music business and the business of sales. "Welcome Interstate Managers" is one of those albums I can easily see myself grabbing in order to revisit the lyrics as much as the music. (Lloyd Cole's "The Negatives" still holds the title in my book, but Fountains of Wayne is definitely crawling up its way up my list.)

The liner notes include the lyrics, credits, photos of the band members and a brief round of "thank-you's" from the band. The design is interesting in its use of altered photos emphasizing the 2D nature of both the photos and the liner notes in a very postmodern way. The effect is of a photo of poorly made and badly arranged cardboard props in rows.

The album is so good, I hunted down Fountains of Wayne's first two albums, the 1996 self titled album and the 1999 "Utopia Parkway." My initial reaction is to like both of these earlier releases and they continue to grow on me as they get additional play time. I'm enjoying all three albums currently available and look forward to the next release by the band.

Rating: Strongly Recommended.

Fountains of Wayne, "Welcome Interstate Managers"

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This page contains a single entry by jack published on March 24, 2004 1:43 PM.

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