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The time has come to face facts: Fountains of Wayne may be the most songcraft-literate rock band on the planet. On Traffic and Weather, the follow-up to their acclaimed Welcome Interstate Managers, song connoisseurs Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood spike their clever power-pop cocktails with references to rock's canon: reconstructed Doobie Brothers riffs (on "Someone to Love"), lifted Dylan piano intros (on an otherwise Paul Simon-reminiscent "Fire in the Canyon"), and Beatlesque touches everywhere. Thankfully, though, Fountains also boast a surfeit of original melody and couplets. The best song here, the deliciously funny and dangerous "Strapped for Cash," has sinister underpinnings that rival the best work of Steely Dan. As on so many all-Fountains songs, the setting and the setup are charming -- over keyboard stabs and soul-charged horn samples, a financially challenged loser begins his tale of woe: "Well it was Saturday night / I was sittin' in the kitchen / checking out the women on Spanish television." Eventually, the audacious song even pilfers Billy Joel's "heart attack-ack-ack-ack" phrasing and you don't even mind. The album is ripe with clever lines and fresh takes on old subjects. "Yolanda Hayes" recasts a Lovely Rita-like gal behind the counter at the DMV; "92 Subaru" is a high-octane car song and a catchy deconstruction of consumer culture; and the driving closer, "New Routine," follows intersecting characters as they move from Mineola, Long Island, to Liechtenstein to Bowling Green, Ohio, and back. Just like the come-on that comprises its title, Traffic and Weather keeps you tuned in. The forecast? Sunny, intelligent listening.
|Label:||Virgin Records Us|
Performance CreditsFountains of Wayne Primary Artist
James Iha Guitar
Scott Wendholt Trumpet
Brian Young Percussion,Drums
Ronnie Buttacavoli Trumpet
Adam Schlesinger Bass,Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Mike Viola Background Vocals
Melissa Auf der Maur Background Vocals
Chris Collingwood Banjo,Guitar,Vocals
Jody Porter Guitar,Vocals
Scott Harrell Trumpet
Technical CreditsJohn Holbrook Engineer
Adam Schlesinger Producer,Audio Production
Chris Collingwood Composer
Cliff Burnstein Management
Geoff Sanoff Engineer
Ken Weinstein Publicity
Shauna Haider Artwork
Peter Mensch Management