Welcome Interstate Managers | EW.com

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Welcome Interstate ManagersIt's been four years since Fountains of Wayne's sublime sophomore disc, ''Utopia Parkway,'' failed to score the big sales it deserved. Now the band has...Welcome Interstate ManagersIt's been four years since Fountains of Wayne's sublime sophomore disc, ''Utopia Parkway,'' failed to score the big sales it deserved. Now the band has...2003-06-09
Fountains of Wayne

(Fountains of Wayne: Joseph Cultice)

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Welcome Interstate Managers

Producer (group): Virgin

It’s been four years since Fountains of Wayne’s sublime sophomore disc, ”Utopia Parkway,” failed to score the big sales it deserved. Now the band has cannily front-loaded its 16-song return, Welcome Interstate Managers, with a triple punch of joyously clever power pop. The opener, ”Mexican Wine,” is filled with ”Strawberry Fields Forever” horns and brass-ring fumbles (”I used to fly for United Airlines/Then I got fired for reading High Times”). The rollicking ”Bright Future in Sales” is a wry rocker about a self-sabotaging but ever-optimistic salesman. And first single ”Stacy’s Mom” – a teen’s hormonally addled mash note about his girlfriend’s hot mama (”I know you think it’s just a fantasy/But since your dad walked out, your mom could use a guy like me!”) – is crank-it-up, warble-along perfection, driven by stuttery Cars-style guitar licks.

But ”Welcome” is not all about juicy power chords. ”Fire Island” is a soft, shimmering ballad that pays homage to those halcyon days of naked pool parties when the ‘rents left town. (Yes, the thirtysomething members of FOW have a sweet spot for their formative years.) And in the melancholy ”Hackensack,” a Jersey dude views L.A. as a distant mirage where his high school dream girl and ”everybody else” goes.

”Parkway” didn’t take Fountains of Wayne to the charts, but let’s hope the ”Interstate” will.

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