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Fountains of Wayne

• Fountains of Wayne

Death by pop, bring it on. A generous slice of guitar and harmony heaven from the princes and imminent kings of suburban power pop. Mersey Jersey, they call it. Love this band.

Third time is the charm, and FoW is bustin out hard now. Both of the first two records popped up on everybody's Best Of lists, but this one's selling. Heavy MTV rotation and dense airplay on the funny single "Stacy's Mom" (has got it going on), along with Letterman and Conan appearances, is fast propelling them to heights seldom achieved lately in this sub-genre, a mighty good sign for baby boomers. These guys are mid-thirties, and write intelligent funny (and a few touching) songs. The latter are my favorites, and we'll include clips of "Hackensack" and "Halley's Waitress" on the Listen page.

Fountains of Wayne are dually led by co-producers (with engineer Mike Denneen) Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingswood, who co-wrote all the material. Schlesinger's list of studio credits outside the group is long and impressive, including soundtracks like Something About Mary, Josie and the Pussycats, and That Thing You Do (which had a Golden Globe nominated song), as well as producing and/or writing for pop projects like David Mead, Fastball, and They Might Be Giants, not to mention Verve Pipe, Tahiti 80, and a number of other acts. Groovy glam guitarist Jody Porter used to be with The Belltower and drummer Brian Young is formerly of The Posies.

Pedal steel star Robert Randolph, another Jersey phenom, cameos on "Hung Up On You." Schlesinger's Stratosphere Sound studio partner James Iha (Smashing Pumkins) plays guitar on "All Kinds of Time." Most of the basics were cut at The Clubhouse (clubhouseinc.com) in Rhinebeck, NY, a superior facility with which we became acquainted in our interview with Louise Taylor (see the archives).

Sixteen tunes, and what do you get: tons of personality, miles of melody, hooks for days. If you like pop music, click to the Listen page and get your plastic out, 'cause you're gonna need it.  • FG

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