James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins/A Perfect Circle, Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick and Taylor Hanson of Hanson (WTF?) together again for the first time! What are the results from this Super Group with over 75 years of combined experience? Pure power pop greatness!
Believe it or not, the Tinted Windows has been ten years in the making. According to their bio on their website, James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins, Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and Taylor Hanson of Hanson have been friends since the late 90s. They recently decided that they should form a band with loud guitars to accompany Taylor Hanson’s voice. Their goal was to sound like The Knack and Cheap Trick. They still needed a drummer and they wanted one like Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick. On a whim, they sent the demos to Carlos in hopes he might be interested and he quickly joined the band. The results are pure power pop greatness.
The first thing you need to get over is the car wreck aspect of the members in the band. Obviously, Schlesinger has been belting out this kind of material with Fountains of Wayne, so fans of his will not be disappointed. Carlos is a legend from the greatest power pop band in history, so fans of his will be ok, however they may think the lyrical content is a little too sugary as compared to Cheap Trick. The WTF aspect is Iha playing chords that considerably much happier than the fuzzy grunge of Smashing Pumpkins or the dark metal riffage of A Perfect Circle.
The member that people will have a hard time getting over is Taylor Hanson. He has grown up considerably since belting out the guilty pleasure, “MMMBop” with his brothers. The last Hanson album was critically well received as a pop rock gem, however the acclaim did not translate to sales. On the self titled debut album, Hanson shines belting out numerous “Whoas Whoas”, “Cha Cha’s” and other sing along phrases to go along with the sugary lyrics.
The band is at its best on tracks like “Kind of a Girl”, “Messing with My Head”, “Dead Serious”, “Can’t Get a Read On You”, “Nothing to Me” and “Doncha Wanna”. All of these songs are full of hook heavy guitars that fans of the 80s “skinny tie bands” will appreciate. While the lyrical songwriting will not be mistaken for Bob Dylan (or Cheap Trick for that matter), the lyrics are fun and light, the way pop should be.
The lead single “Kind of a Girl” is by far the best and catchiest song. The band is kicking on all cylinders as Hanson belts out “Whoa Whoas” throughout the whole song and Iha fulfills the bands goal to have loud noisy guitars. It also has a brief 80s guitar solo.
Equally as infectious is “Can’t Get A Read on You.” It is a fast paced hook heavy rocker that will have listeners playing air guitar every time they listen.
As I said, the lyrics are overly simplistic and at times hokey. “Cha! Cha!” is fun, but childish for a band with three quarters of its members over the age of 40. However, no song is as lame as “Without Love”. I am not a big fan of songs speaking on the virtues of love. It didn’t work for Peter Cetera (“Glory of Love”) and the immortal Beatles (“All You Need is Love”), so I don’t feel this tune will change my mind.
You got nothing to live for, nothing to give
You got nothing to wish for, nothing to get
Without love the days are so long
You could never go
On and on and on on and on come on
On and on and on on and on come on
LAME! LAME! LAME!