The forthcoming release (April 3rd via Virgin Records) Traffic and Weather from art-rockers Fountains of Wayne may not be “the dawning of the age of Aquarius” but it might just qualify as the second coming of “new wave.”
That's because on their new album, their first proper release since 2003’s Welcome Interstate Managers, strikes a perfect balance of pop rock bliss and nerdy pontificating. To break that down even further, I’m saying the band mixes the catchy beats of pop artists like Prince with the smarty-pants lyrics of bands like Sonic Youth and R.E.M.
This is especially evident on tracks like “Someone to Love” and the outstanding title track “Traffic and Weather” that with any luck will be enjoying heavy rotation on a campus radio station near you in the not-so-distant future.
The album isn’t perfect however and occasionally hits some snags when the band tries to slow down the party. The song “This Better Be Good” is a perfect example and sounds like a bad cross between Weezer, who should have called it a day after recording the great novelty hit “Buddy Holly,” and Modest Mouse.
In 2003, before dropping off the musical radar, Fountains of Wayne won the Grammy for “best new artist” off the strength of the song “Stacy’s Mom” from the aforementioned Welcome Interstate Managers. I note this because that album was actually the bands third album. Of course we are talking about the same awards organization that gave Jethro Tull an undeserved hand-job in 1989 for “best heavy metal album” for Crest of a Knave Don't get me wrong Crest of a Knave is a great album but is far from heavy metal.
Hopefully this won’t be the case this time around and Traffic and Weather will be recognized for what it is, a great comeback album from a band that potentially has a great future ahead of them, if they can navigate the many pitfalls of the music business.