CD Review of Tinted Windows by Tinted Windows
Tinted Windows: Tinted Windows
Recommended if you like
Cheap Trick, Fountains of Wayne, Hanson
Label
S-Curve
Tinted Windows:
Tinted Windows

Reviewed by Will Harris

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T
here’s something disconcerting about the phrase "a power pop fan’s wet dream," not least of which because power pop is ostensibly supposed to be less about sex and more about unrequited longing…or, at least, that’s the punchline of one of David Medsker’s favorite jokes, anyway. But when you’re presented with a band whose lineup features Taylor Hanson on lead vocals, backed by Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne, Ivy), Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick), and James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins), it really is entering wet dream territory. Granted, Iha might seem like the odd man out, but if you’ve ever heard his solo album, Let It Come Down, then you’re already aware that the man knows his way around a hook just as well as his new bandmates.

The only real problem with Tinted Windows’ self-titled album is that, with the group’s members having such a tremendous collective resume, one’s expectations may well be higher than its contents can ever possibly meet.

Fortunately, the album starts off with "Kind of a Girl," a song which instantly fulfills the promise of the project, then proceeds to follow it with "Messing with My Head," which features a "c’mon, c’mon" refrain and a simple but still catchy riff running throughout. With "Dead Serious," however, we get a song that sounds like his contributions to the Click Five’s repertoire, and while that’s not a bad thing in principle, it reminds listeners that, for all of his abilities to write a kick-ass pop hook, Schlesinger has occasionally been known to fall into somewhat of a songwriting pattern. Good thing, then, that "Can’t Get a Read on You" rocks hard enough that it takes your mind of the previous song’s shortcomings.

Tinted Windows

There’s nothing here that isn’t at least pleasant. "Nothing to Me" is textbook power pop, with a Beatles-inspired riff and a woe-is-me chorus (suuuuuuure she means nothing to you), "Cha Cha" and "Doncha Wanna" are just as glam-tastic as their title would have you suspect they are, and "We Got Something" is jet-propelled from start to finish. "Back with You," meanwhile, is the closest the band gets to a ballad, but it’s nice to have the variety. In the end, though, Tinted Windows doesn’t necessarily make a tremendous initial impression beyond its general fun-ness. If you’re in the mood to groove to some riff-filled, hook-laden power pop without thinking too hard about what’s playing, then you likely won’t leave the proceedings disappointed, but when asked to pick your favorite Tinted Windows tracks, it’s doubtful you’ll be able to identify any of them without starting your sentence, "It’s the one that sounds like…"

Still, it’s hard to complain about the fact that nothing’s groundbreaking when it was almost certainly never intended to be. It’s just a pleasant little side project for a bunch of guys who know the power of a pop hook.

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