It has been more than three years since Fountains of Wayne released its brilliant power-pop album "Utopia Parkway," so it's no surprise that the band's fans are getting impatient for new material. A crowd of 300 or so turned out on a rainy Tuesday night to see the group deliver a taste of what's to come during a short set at the 9:30 club. If the songs the Fountains debuted from the as-yet-unnamed album is any indication, the wait will have been worth it.
Led by guitarist and singer Chris Collingwood, who writes all the songs with Adam Schlesinger, the band, now a five-piece outfit, played smart and witty hook-filled fare.
Among the promising new tunes were "Mexican Wine"; the hilarious "Bright Future in Sales," an early-Elvis-Costello-like rocker; and the sad-sack "Hackensack," which visited familiar territory for the band: longing backward glances to high school days, teenage romance and perpetual immaturity.
Collingswood picked up his acoustic guitar for a few whimsical and sweet-natured songs that threatened to dissolve into a great big self-pity party. After working through "Troubled Times," he switched back to electric guitar. "Okay, enough sissy rock," he said.
Singalong gems like "Red Dragon Tattoo" and "Sink to the Bottom" were rewards for longtime fans who will certainly be expecting more bright and jangly pop on the next Fountains of Wayne release. The only annoying part of an otherwise entertaining night was that the band left the stage and returned for two separate encores. That's slightly ridiculous for a show that clocked in at just under an hour.
-- Joe Heim