Disappointing return for literate New York quartet

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Fountains Of Wayne – Welcome Interstate Managers

It’s taken four years for FOW to resurface following the acclaimed (but meagre-selling) Utopia Parkway. In the interim, something seems amiss. The lyrics are sly dissections of US life (this time swapping shopping mall hell for big business emasculation), but the fizz seems to have flattened. If Utopia Parkway was the finest power pop action since The Posies’ Frosting On The Beater, here they’re diminished by trying to touch too many bases, often lapsing into sub-Oasis stodge. And ironically, despite the spunky “Bright Future In Sales”, it’s the deviations that work best: the lazy disco groove of “Halley’s Waitress”, or the countrified “Valley Winter Song”.