Audio Only: Fountains Of Wayne's Tiny Desk Concert
Fountains of Wayne has always been slightly miscast as a chipper band of power-pop ironists, thanks in part to the omnipresence of the 2003 novelty hit "Stacy's Mom." But even that song is infused with a melancholy churn: Sure, "Stacy's Mom" makes light of adolescent desire and delusion, but songwriters Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger still find a way to relate to the raw, unrequited want that exists at the core of every undersexed teenager — and in the spirit of everyone who's
Often, you only need to hear a few lines to know you're listening to a Fountains of Wayne song. "Richie and Ruben," from the new album Sky Full of Holes, introduces its title characters as the kind of hapless losers the band loves to write about: "They opened up a bar called Living Hell / Right from the start, it didn't go too well / They didn't have the vibe or quite the right clientele."
Fountains of Wayne has been churning out catchy power pop since the mid-'90s. After the singles "Radiation Vibe" and "Sink to the Bottom" put Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood on the national map, the band was catapulted into the mainstream spotlight with its 2003 hit, "Stacy's Mom," which earned them Best New Artist and Best Vocal Performance Grammy nominations.
Fountains of Wayne's airtight power-pop formulas have been picked apart to tremendous effect — if you haven't already heard it, track down Robbie Fulks' brilliant "Fountains of Wayne Hotline" — but the band's most instantly recognizable characteristic is its gift for summing up the lives of luckless strivers, defeated dreamers, and the otherwise unfulfilled.