Fountains of Wayne

"Sky Full of Holes''

By Marc Hirsh
Globe Correspondent / August 2, 2011

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Every four years, like clockwork. Ever since 1999’s “Utopia Parkway,’’ Fountains of Wayne has established a slow but steady quadrennial approach. And right on cue comes “Sky Full of Holes,’’ which continues the identity crisis that began on the flailing “Traffic and Weather.’’ Opening trio “The Summer Place,’’ “Richie and Ruben,’’ and “Acela’’ are standard Fountains character studies, but while they offer up details galore, they never quite explain why we should care; it’s like listening to a storyteller who doesn’t skimp on the minutiae but never gets to the point. Singer Chris Collingwood’s unshakable habit for rhyming for rhyme’s sake pops up in “A Road Song,’’ pairing “Cracker barrel’’ with “Will Ferrell’’ (and “necessary’’ / “I’m no Steve Perry’’). “Hate to See You Like This’’ and “Cemetery Guns’’ are majestic and stately, providing glimpses at the direction the band could take if only its current emphasis were not on easygoing country-rock and Supertramp. Ah, well. There’s always 2015. (Out today)

ESSENTIAL “Hate to See You Like This’’

Fountains of Wayne perform at Brighton Music Hall Aug. 12-13.