Breezy power pop blows through Tinted Windows

By Brett Milano / Review | Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | | Music News

Seeing the new supergroup Tinted Windows in concert is like being in a room full of incurable record collectors. Just imagine that the talk turns to power pop, and out come all the old vinyl standbys: Dwight Twilley, Todd Rundgren, Emmitt Rhodes, Big Star and, of course, Cheap Trick.

All these pop icons were echoed in Tinted Windows’ local debut Monday, but the show didn’t feel like a gig for insiders only. None of the above bands (except maybe Cheap Trick) ever got young women screaming at their shows, though they sure tried hard enough. But Tinted Windows has a genuine (albeit former) teen idol, Taylor Hanson, up front. And he’s got three seasoned pop/rock guys behind him: Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger and Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos. The group was joined onstage by rhythm guitarist Josh Lattanzi, a Boston pop figure who played with Jen Trynin and Juliana Hatfield before moving to New York.

The boys poked fun at their supergroup status, - and delivered an in-joke for record geeks - by taking the stage to “Only Time Will Tell” by another supergroup, Asia. From then it was all hooks all the time, as Tinted Windows played all 11 songs from their debut, a pair of B-sides and two ace covers, the Knack’s “Let Me Out” and Buzzcocks’ “I Don’t Mind,” respectively closing the set and the encore.

There were traces of everybody’s regular bands, as Iha did some Pumpkins-style power chords and Carlos snuck some “Surrender” snare rolls into the opening “Take Me Back.” With Schlesinger as the main writer, a few songs could have passed for lost Fountains of Wayne tracks (though without the obvious jokes), while “Messing With My Head” sounded like five Cheap Trick songs rolled into one.

Carlos got the most shout-outs from his band mates; in power-pop circles his presence was akin to having Keith Moon or John Bonham in your band. But Hanson was the real surprise. He looked like a rock star in skinny tie and shades, strutting and flirting with the women up front. His sweet voice and youthful swagger were a plus since power pop isn’t just about collecting; it’s about dancing and romancing.

Boston’s Everyday Visuals did a lovely opening set of melancholy pop that was as subtle as Tinted Windows’ was exuberant. The group even managed to do its closing number a cappella and without mikes.

TINTED WINDOWS, with EVERYDAY VISUALS at the Paradise, Monday night.