FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE > Traffic and Weather

Fountains of Wayne frontmen Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood cut to the chase on their fourth album. After 10 years of songs about planes, trains and automobiles, they simply call their new CD Traffic and Weather.

Label: Virgin
Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Fountains of Wayne frontmen Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood cut to the chase on their fourth album. After 10 years of songs about planes, trains and automobiles, they simply call their new CD Traffic and Weather.

“There is a lot of moving around in the songs,” admits Schlesinger. “For some reason, whenever I sit down to write, certain themes just show up. When I start writing, I think about where I should set it-New York, New Jersey. Then I think, Maybe I should set it somewhere else. Then I start thinking about getting there.” One cut even takes place in a DMV. But as antsy as their characters may be, Schlesinger and Collingwood aren’t nearly as eager to move out of their comfort zones.

Traffic and Weather pretty much sticks to the power-pop formula they perfected on 2003’s breakthrough, Welcome Interstate Managers. “When we started making this record, we thought for a minute about changing our process and tried to make songs out of our jams,” says Schlesinger. “But we went back to our normal way of working.” There’s no “Stacy’s Mom” here to lure the unconverted, but there are plenty of casual hooks that’ll have Fountain of Wayne’s rock-snob fans nodding with delight. There’s also an entire community of characters to bump into: law-degree recipient Seth Shapiro, Yolanda Hayes (employee of the aforementioned DMV) and airport-marooned Michael and Heather. “Real people and real experiences sneak into the songs indirectly,” says Schlesinger. “But I never set out to write about specific things.”

Yet, despite all of Traffic and Weather‘s hustle and flow (“Fire in the Canyon” and “Revolving Dora” simmer and roll, respectively), it doesn’t look like Fountains of Wayne are going anywhere anytime soon.