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Fountains of Wayne
OUT-OF-STATE PLATES
Virgin

This 30-track grab bag of B-sides and demos (plus a few new tracks) doesnít have the workaday lyricism that raised Welcome Interstate Managers above the power-pop pack, but who said odds-and-sods discs had to be consistent? When songwriters Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlessinger are on, they can toss off genre exercises like the Nashville-ready "The Girl I Canít Forget" as deftly as, say, Nick Lowe. When theyíre not, they tread water in 4/4 time, or construct narrators straight out of Nick Hornby. In "Iíll Do the Driving," the singer turns away in shame when his girlfriend calls Johnny Cash "The Man in Red." (Collingwood notes that his wife hates the song.) Out-of-State Plates also marks the first official release of their oft-bootlegged, itís-better-with-guitars version of " . . . Baby One More Time." Other covers include Aztec Cameraís "Killermont Street" and Ricky Nelsonís "Todayís Teardrops." The bandleadersí average-Joe voices can wear thin, and three holiday numbers are too many (even when one is 12 seconds long), but the set ends with a clutch of album-quality songs (especially the ghostly "Imperia") on which Fountains of Wayne sound like no one but themselves.

BY FRANKLIN BRUNO


Issue Date: July 1 - 7, 2005
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