Sky Full of Holes is Fountains of Wayne’s fifth studio album. Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either. It seems that this New York-based alt. rock group was destined to be a one-hit wonder, fading into childhood nostalgia as the only song we can remember is “Stacy’s Mom” — you know, that highly inappropriate yet wildly catchy single. But their latest release comes as a surprise. Featuring a more subdued Fountains of Wayne, Sky Full of Holes sticks to a basic formula of bouncy guitar riffs, gentle rhythms and boyish vocals. Though it’s nothing drastic and everything soothing, the album is simplicity at its best and a perfect embodiment of its genre.
Churning out songs since the mid-nineties, Fountains of Wayne have been around for awhile. Their rock roots peak in Sky Full of Holes, an elegant display of maturity. At the same time, the album could have very easily slipped into the realm of triteness. Fountains of Wayne rely on traditional techniques, piecing together a sound that might come off as derivative. However, there is a poignant rawness, tinged with melancholy, that makes their music anything but commonplace. Opener “The Summer Place” begins on an innocuous note, much like every other rock song in existence. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg, as the track paints a vivid profile of a lost soul, bolstered by distinct guitar riffs.
Fountains of Wayne constructs quite a few narratives in Sky Full of Holes, all of which carry a hint of rue from “Richie and Ruben” to “Hate to See You Like This.” The bad news is that listening to these tracks on repeat can be quite a bit of a downer. But the good news is that the intensity carries a strange sort of catharsis and Sky Full of Holes will be your to-go album in times of emotional need.
Cynthia Kang is the arts editor.