Fountains of Wayne
For fans of musical styles like Ben Folds Five's power-pop piano driven melodies, Weezer's heavy guitar meshed with sweet vocals -- and both bands' off-kilter harmonies that somehow fit perfectly, I'm sure you already own Utopia Parkway . And if you don't, you'll want to. Fountains of Wayne deliver an impressionable blend of all those qualities, reviving a touch of what was left behind in the 1950s and '60s rock ballads, including doo-wop harmonies and songs about proms, school-girl crushes, and summer. The band brings the fun back to rock n' roll with radio-friendly crusin' tunes like "Denise" and "Lost in Space," with the whole album reflecting the spirit of school-house rock that could have been easily found on a John Hughes 80's movie soundtrack.
Piano driven ballads like "Prom Theme" give off a 1960s Brit-pop vibe, with simple yet appropriate basslines and hushed, double-tracked vocals. And let's not forget the incorporation of harmonic vocal fills like "sha la la la la la la," intelligently overlaid in the melodies, is a welcome sing-along. Overall, one of the best CDs to come out of the '90s Brit-pop-esque revival.
Atlantic Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, Second Floor, New York, NY 10019; http://www.atlantic-records.com