Release Date: Apr 21, 2009
Record label: S-Curve
Genre(s): Rock, Pop
For decades, fans of melodically overendowed acts like Big Star, Dwight Twilley, and Fountains of Wayne were bewildered by the failure of post-Beatles power pop to conquer the world. Then, all of a sudden, it did — but it was Disney-generation rockers bringing that sound back, not graying new- wavers. (Don’t believe me? You must’ve missed Meet Miley Cyrus.) Just as improbably, here are relatively grizzled members of Hanson, Cheap Trick, Smashing Pumpkins, and, yes, Fountains of Wayne, ready to capitalize on the tween-pop craze as a supergroup called Tinted Windows.
Supergroups are rarely as evenly balanced as Tinted Windows, the power pop powerhouse consisting of boy band veteran Taylor Hanson, Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger, Smashing Pumpkins' James Iha, and Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick. Hanson's participation in this project is unexpected only to those not paying close attention. Ever since the days of "MMM Bop," Hanson has shown a flair for sugary pure pop, something he continued to develop as he and his brothers turned from teen sensations into working troubadours, but their steady, solid work in the 2000s never got as much attention as their first hits, so many listeners may be surprised to hear how comfortable he is with this fuzzy, old-fashioned power pop.
Let's not proclaim the CD dead just yet. Just as there are certain types of music that sound better on vinyl, the clean-room sound of that nearly obsolete silvery disc is the perfect medium for certain styles mostly associated with the 90s alt-rock that coincides with the technology's heyday. It's not an across-the-board pairing, however. Pearl Jam were so into vinyl that they added scratches to Vitalogy.
On paper, it works brilliantly. If you were asked to Frankenstein together your own power-pop supergroup, you’d probably come up with the Tinted Windows band roster. After all, we have Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos on drums, Fountains of Wayne’s bassist/chief songwriter Adam Schlesinger, ex-Smashing Pumpkins axe-man James Iha, and Taylor Hanson of, um, Hanson.