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FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE – Sky Full Of Holes (Lojinx)

Whenever The Fountains Of Wayne release a new album I think to myself ‘Do I need to get this? I already have quite a few of theirs’. I always relent and get it, and after a few plays I wonder why it even crossed my mind not to dive in. Every one of their albums has been chock full of brilliant songs, and this one is no exception. It might take a couple of plays for some of them to shine through, but after the third or fourth listen then every song has lodged itself in your brain. Fountains Of Wayne remain one of the best power-pop bands around, despite the fact that they have been going for fifteen years (I reviewed their first album around issue 1 or 2 of Feedback, as was). ‘Summer Place’ is the perfect track to start with, introducing the album with a track that showcases everything I love about the band – jaunty tune, catchy chorus, great vocal and an upbeat feel that can’t help but buoy your mood. ‘Richie And Ruben’ is one of their story songs about a couple of mates who open a boutique, set to an infectious melody, and ‘Someone’s Gonna Break Your Heart’ has some great melodic twists and turns in the chorus that raise it above your run of the mill pop song. ‘Action Hero’ is a poignant song about a down-trodden family man who in his mind sees himself in an action hero role, but has to accept that in reality it will never happen. ‘A Dip In The Ocean’ is another cracking pop tune, and just when you think you know exactly how the chorus is going to sound they come from left field and put even more hooks in there. ‘Cold Comfort Flowers’ and ‘Hate to See You Like This’ are lovely ballads, and they seem to able to produce these effortlessly as well, with their melancholy atmosphere and hummable choruses. ‘A Road Song’ takes a cynical look at writing songs on tour, and manages to namecheck Will Ferrell and Steve Perry along the way, while ‘Radio Bar’ is a good enough single to gain them some well-deserved radioplay. ‘Firelight Waltz’ perfectly lives up to its title, being a sort of cross between a country song and a waltz. From anyone else it could be a complete disaster, but FOW marry it to a catchy tune and it really works. The album ends with one of their rare message songs, with the anti-war ‘Cemetery Guns’ being sung from the point of view of a widow who has lost her husband. For anyone who gets the deluxe version you get two extra tracks, one of which is a stupendous cover of the Moody Blues’ ‘The Story In Your Eyes’. Not only is it a brilliant version of the song, but it reminds you of what a great rock band the Moodies were in their prime. FOW don’t often do covers, but when they do they can certainly pick them. So, another great album from the Fountains Of Wayne, and while it has been pointed out elsewhere that as the band get older then so does the subject matter of their songs, I don’t really care as so am I, and I can still relate to them and enjoy this great music.
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