MUSIC REVIEWS: September New Releases

Fountains Of Wayne Out-of-State Plates Virgin
Music •••• Sound ••••
The Posies Every Kind of Light Rykodisc
Music •••½ Sound •••½
Hard to say what's more fun: listening to all the non-album and previously unreleased tracks that comprise Fountains of Wayne's double CD of rarities, Out-of-State Plates, or reading the hilarious cut-by-cut commentary by partners-in-rhyme bandleaders Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood. There's the plu-perfectly power-popping "Maureen" (of whose "muh-muh-muh-muh" hook Schlesinger notes that "a couple more like this and people will think that Chris really does stutter"). Then there's the hazy-shade-of-winter guitar of "Elevator Up" ("a song about drugs," writes Colling­wood, "culled from extensive research with people who have actually done them"). These guys are undeniably musical wiseacres, but they're also true music fans, as underscored by the straight-ahead covers of ELO ("Can't Get It Out of My Head"), Jackson Browne ("These Days"), and even Brit­ney Spears (". . . Baby One More Time").

Like Fountains of Wayne, Posies co-leaders Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer wear their influences on their sleeves - though the cuffs are more Edwardian. Reunited for Every Kind of Light, their first new collection in seven years, the Posies will have you thinking late Beatles ("That Don't Fly") and Zombies ("All in a Day's Work"), and with the same stateliness, too. That a number of songs here ("Could He Treat You Better," "Sweethearts of Rodeo Drive") deal with the current climate in Washington makes reference-point sense, too. After all, back in the late 1960s, no one said pop and politics couldn't mix.