Release Date: Jul 22, 2016
Record label: Yep Roc
Chris Collingwood is best known as the lead singer and co-founder of power pop critical darlings Fountains of Wayne. And yet, for years he was treated as an afterthought to his more prolific co-founder, Adam Schlesinger. Collingwood was visible whenever Fountains of Wayne had a new album out, taking co-writing credits on every song, playing guitar, and singing the lead vocals.
Look Park is a solo debut of sorts for Fountains of Wayne lead singer and co-songwriter Chris Collingwood, his first project outside of the seasoned power pop group. The musician has spurned the solo label, however, insisting that Look Park is "band music," and he is joined on the album by a notable backing crew. Davey Faragher and Michael Urbano, both former members of Cracker with impressive sidemen credits, play bass and drums, respectively; acclaimed producer Mitchell Froom (Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt) handles keys in addition to studio duties, and Mike Viola and members of Winterpills contribute backing vocals.
First things first: Chris Collingwood insists this isn’t a solo record, it’s a side project from his other job as one of the two principals of Fountains of Wayne, alongside Adam Schlesinger. Second, he also insists he threw out every song that sounded like it might be by Fountains of Wayne. In both cases, he’s being a little disingenuous: he writes and sings every song, aided by a rhythm section, and whatever his intentions, it will be perceived as a solo record.
The wide-eyed teenager who once fawned over Stacy's mom has grown up to write a half-decent indie record, but it's bogged down by a few too many string arrangements.Look Park is the debut solo project of Fountains of Wayne frontman Chris Collingwood, and marks a significant step away from his usual output with the band. In lieu of his usual power-chord rock anthems, Collingwood constructs intricate arrangements with layered instrumentation and sunny vocal harmonies. Acoustic and electric guitars oppose each other on either side of the stereo field, separated by Collingwood's reserved but strong vocal performances.
Those still desperately waiting for a new record from northeast Power Poppers, Fountains of Wayne are still out of luck, but they can rejoice in the stellar first solo-ish effort from front man Chris Collingwood, going under the moniker Look Park. I stop short of calling this one a full-fledged solo effort because Collingwood brings along members of Cracker and Winterpills to help fill out the music and eschews the eponymous title. The 10-song debut still inherits some of the infectious nature of his pervious band, but the influences are much broader here, pulling in everyone from The Zombies to The Hollies.