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POP MUSIC REVIEW

Solid Vibes From Fountains of Wayne

May 08, 1997|SARA SCRIBNER

Things were not boding well for Fountains of Wayne when the band walked onstage at the Roxy on Tuesday night. A New York-based quartet whose sound is rooted in the '60s, the group garnered most of its attention not for its own music but over a song that its bassist, Adam Schlesinger, wrote for the Tom Hanks-directed film "That Thing You Do!" Then its concert was postponed last week when singer Chris Collingwood came down with laryngitis.

Collingwood explained that he was on steroids to treat the laryngitis. But the true revelation of the evening was his penchant for striking musicianship and good humor. In song, Collingwood begged women to discard bad men in "Leave the Biker" and "Radiation Vibe" ("He's just a dumb ape reading Playboy on your couch"). It wasn't just common sense that shined: From a scorching imitation of Axl Rose to asinine knock-knock jokes, the band pulled out all the stops.

Though Fountains of Wayne hammed it up for the crowd, it was the solid songwriting of Schlesinger and Collingwood that won over the audience. The band, so unabashedly in love with the '60s that it even played a Zombies tune, is much better live than on record. Its songs about secretaries and bad love turned dark luck into a great show.

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