Fountains of Wayne

Sky Full of Holes

Yep Roc

Aug 02, 2011 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


By now Fountains of Wayne has perfected its stock in trade: albums that mix witty lyrics and poppy melodies with the occasional country or lounge-esque diversion. And Sky Full of Holes fits that formula to a tee.

The first half of the band's fifth album is filled with the same energetic power pop by which the band has made its name. "The Summer Place" is a bitterly truthful examination of familial relationships, with the matriarch eventually taking mushrooms given to her by a surfer and spending a night in the hospital. "Action Hero" is a sympathetic portrait of a Walter Mitty-esque character imagining himself a hero despite the mundanities of his everyday life. And "A Dip in the Ocean" is one of the best melodic ditties the band has ever recorded.

From there, things break up a bit. "Cold Comfort Flowers" eschews pop for a lounge-y vibe and falls flat. The country-esque "Road Song" is something like a more somber-sounding version of "Fire in the Canyon" from 2007's Traffic and Weather. And "Hate to See You Like This" is a ballad that sounds lackluster surrounded by the other songs on this set. Of course, by the time the horns fill up the melodic brilliance of "Radio Bar," all is forgotten.

Perhaps ironically (which in the case of FoW would be entirely apropos), the best song on this say may be "Someone's Going to Break Your Heart," a song that, while not overtly in-your-face witty like many of Fountains of Wayne's best songs, succeeds above the rest on pure songwriting: perfect melodies, thought provoking narrative, and passionate vocals. On Sky Full of Holes, Fountains of Wayne is what we thought they were: some of the best songwriters this side of Big Star, who occasionally indulge their less populist impulses. (www.fountainsofwayne.com

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