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Welcome Interstate Managers – Fountains of Wayne

Welcome Interstate Managers

(2003), 7/10
Welcome Interstate Managers featured the hit ‘Stacy’s Mom’, which amusingly won a best new artist Grammy for a band who’d previously released two major label albums. Despite the extra attention that Welcome Interstate Managers received, it’s a little weaker than their previous albums. It’s too long, and the artifice that’s always been a niggling feature of this band is too clearly showing over the album’s sixteen tracks

Welcome Interstate Managers is very-front loaded – the opener ‘Mexican Wine’ is the strongest song with its arrangement that leaves out the rhythm section until the second verse; the extra tantalising keyboard riff that leaves the listener dangling before the second verse is a piece of arranging brilliance. The hit ‘Stacy’s Mom’ is hooky and overtly poppy, and it’s probably the song that Fountains of Wayne will be remembered for, for better or worse, while there’s more memorable power pop with ‘No Better Place’. Pretty songs like ‘Halley’s Waitress’ and ‘All Kinds of Time’ helps to make the later parts of the album enjoyable, but all the best songs are near the start.

More than ever for Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers is pushing into guilty pleasure territory – there are good tunes, but it feels too insincere to love whole-heartedly.

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