Fountains of Wayne
Sky Full of Holes
The title of Fountains of Wayne's new album and sixth overall, Sky Full of Holes, refers to a line in the record's final song, "Cemetery Guns."Accompanied by a somber-sounding organ, Chris Collingwood sings, "Cemetery guns go bang, bang, bang/Shooting the sky full of holes.”
Holes is a more serious affair than any previous Fountains album, and after 2007's all-filler-and-no-killer Traffic and Weather, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The group's power-pop hooks and crunchy guitar sound are rarely present, replaced by songs like the country-tinged "A Road Song"and the literal "Firelight Waltz,"both laid-back affairs, a far cry from the material on albums like Utopia Parkway. Even the band's signature dark humor has been dialed down; the folksy "Richie and Ruben"deals with the titular duo who will "blow through your dough just like they blew through mine."
Collingwood and co-songwriter Adam Schlesinger are trying to make sense of what it means to be in their 40s, struggling with the limitations of their age, self-imposed and otherwise, and while it's an intriguing concept, Sky Full of Holes suffers because of it; the album occasionally sounds too workmanlike, like an obligation rather than a labor of love. There's no one standout song—a "Troubled Times"or "Stacy's Mom”—and by the middle of the album, the tracks begin to blend together. The exception: "Action Hero,"about a middle-aged dad who's racing against time, unsatisfied with the fact that he's an action hero only in his mind. It's so depressing that it's funny, and I can't wait to see where he is in a decade, wishing he were 40 again.