We gave it a B+
For decades, fans of melodically overendowed acts like Big Star, Dwight Twilley, and Fountains of Wayne were bewildered by the failure of post-Beatles power pop to conquer the world. Then, all of a sudden, it did — but it was Disney-generation rockers bringing that sound back, not graying new- wavers. (Don’t believe me? You must’ve missed Meet Miley Cyrus.) Just as improbably, here are relatively grizzled members of Hanson, Cheap Trick, Smashing Pumpkins, and, yes, Fountains of Wayne, ready to capitalize on the tween-pop craze as a supergroup called Tinted Windows. Tough to tell if their debut will appeal more to Knack nostalgists or kids curious about who that new Jonas Brothers soundalike act is.
Tinted Windows singer Taylor Hanson has aged dramatically since you last paid attention 12 years ago — which is to say, he now looks and sounds plausibly post-jailbait?and the kid’s a smooth foil for longer-in-the-tooth Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, FoW bassist-singer Adam Schlesinger, and recovering Pumpkins guitarist James Iha. Their Beatlesque qualities extend to the way some of the best cuts are saved for Tinted Windows‘ end stretch, like ”Nothing to Me,” a blissfully superficial-sounding plea for emotional honesty. It’s all hook-riddled, fast, and ephemeral, and if you don’t love it, your tie’s too wide. B+