Sahan Jayasuriya

Fountains of Wayne to play Shank Hall

With the band set to take the Shank Hall stage this weekend, Sahan Jayasuriya examines their discography, finding much more than "Stacy's Mom".

By - Apr 19th, 2013 10:12 am

Fountains of Wayne L to R: Adam Schelsinger, Jody Porter, Chris Collingwood and Brian Young. Photo: Chris Strong.

New York’s Fountains of Wayne formed in the mid ’90s, releasing its eponymous debut album in 1996. Thanks to the singles “Radiation Vibe” and “Sink to the Bottom,” the album managed to crack the top 20 Billboard Charts in the US. The band’s simple but extremely catchy songwriting recalled such classic power pop and new wave acts as The Cars and The Knack and fit in perfectly with contemporaries like The Lemonheads. After the release of their sophomore album, Utopia Parkway, in 1999, the band took a four-year hiatus, during which Atlantic Records dropped the band.

Returning in 2003 with Welcome Interstate Managers, the band found considerable success with the album’s lead single, cougar anthem “Stacy’s Mom.” The single received massive airplay on radio and MTV in the summer of 2003, but interest in the band quickly faded. The album’s remaining singles failed to chart. Since then, the band has continued to release solid work and please its small but rabid fan base. However, the question remains: “Is Fountains of Wayne simply a one-hit wonder?”

On the surface, it would appear as though they were. To the average listener, Fountains of Wayne is little more than the “Stacy’s Mom” band. But their catalog shows much more depth, in both past and more recent offerings. From the beginning, the band’s output has been strong. While “Stacy’s Mom” is easily the most well-known song from Welcome Interstate Managers, the album boasts much more depth than the lead single would let on, dabbling with classic country, folk and new wave sounds, with sophistication and skill. Their two most recent albums, Traffic & Weather and Sky Full of Holes, find the band continuing to hone their skill, building on their strength of crafting well-written and well-produced power pop tunes.

Upon closer inspection, Fountains of Wayne’s output transcends a single song. They’ve outlived their 90s brethren, and outclassed those who are still around (especially one whose name rhymes with “geezer”), who are hardly making music nearly half as good as their earlier output. Yes, while “Stacy’s Mom” may “have it going on,” so have Fountains of Wayne—they were just too modest to flaunt it.

Fountains of Wayne, along with singer/songwriter/producer extraordinaire Mike Viola take the stage at Shank Hall Sunday April 21 for a special acoustic performance. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here.

Categories: Music, Rock

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