Tinted Windows is probably not a supergroup you would’ve seen coming, but that doesn’t stop their debut album from being one of the most fun pop records to come down the pike in a while. Who’s in the band?, you might ask. Well, on drums there’s Bun E. Carlos, of legendary power-pop band Cheap Trick. On guitar, there’s James Iha, formerly of Smashing Pumpkins and A Perfect Circle. Your bassist is Adam Schlesinger, primary songwriter and chief wiseass for Fountains of Wayne, and on lead vocals…say hi to Taylor Hanson. Yes, THAT Taylor Hanson. Don’t lie. You know you’re still interested.
Actually, if you’ve actually been following Hanson since “Mmmbop” turned them into teen sensations, you’d have known that they’ve released several highly entertaining albums recently, and that Taylor has grown into quite the assured vocalist. His voice is still boyish, and can alternately sound innocent or snotty, depending on what the song calls for. He’s the perfect fit for this band, bringing a bit of soul to what would still be a killer power-pop album. The riffs are crunchy, the drumming swings, and the hooks (mostly written by Schlesinger-is it me or is FOW one of the most underrated bands around these days?) are golden. These songs are perfect for dropping the top on the car on a nice summer day and singing at the top of your lungs.
Tinted Windows uses the half-hour or so and 11 songs to pull just about every earworm trick out of the book. Whether it’s the “uh oh’s” and “whoa whoa”s in the frenetic album opener Kind of a Girl, the chorus of Doncha Wanna, which gets repeated so much it’ll ingrain itself in your head for at least a week, or the stut-stut-stuttered chorus of Take Me Back, these guys prove themselves masters of the great pop song.
You know what the coolest thing about this album is? These guys sound like they’re having a fucking blast playing together. Most music is so processed and serious now-you rarely ever find anything in the mainstream that sounds as tossed-off (in a good way) and fun as Tinted Windows. So, if you’re looking for a great pop/rock album that you’ll be singing along with all summer, look no further than Tinted Windows. If you let the preconceived notions of a band with a Hanson brother keep you from checking this out, it’s your loss.