Fountains of Wayne: 
Sky Full of Holes 

click to enlarge wayne420.jpg

Fountains of Wayne
Sky Full of Holes

(Yep Roc)

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.

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