So, kids, life's one long round of shopping for hockey jerseys in supermalls, drinking [B]Basil Hayden[/B]'s and cruising down by the lake in daddy's car?...

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TLC : Fanmail

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TLC : Fanmail

So, kids, life’s one long round of shopping for hockey jerseys in supermalls, drinking Basil Hayden‘s and cruising down by the lake in daddy’s car? Then ‘Utopia Parkway’ is the album for you.

[a]Fountains Of Wayne[/a]’s songwriters Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood are undoubtedly the poet laureates of middle-class American suburban youth, in all their affluence and anxiety. They sing about kids working up the courage to go get a tattoo, saving up for a van so they can, like, form a cool rock band, going down to see laser shows, mooning at haughty shop girls. They’ve got a neat turn of lyrical phrase. Take the depressed housewife on ‘A Fine Day For A Parade’: “Clears up her head with bourbon/’Cos beer is so suburban”.

Problem with all this satirical/ affectionate observation is that it’s too clean, too neutral, too dry. The strongest emotion they’re capable of is the inconclusive melancholy of ‘Prom Theme’. Musically, they unfortunately convey the all-American blandness of which they sing, blending REM, Nirvana, Simon & Garfunkel, The Eagles and ending up with a nondescript purie.

[a]Fountains Of Wayne[/a] don’t belong in rock. They should be scriptwriting for [I]Happy Days: The Next Generation[/I].