Tinted Windows (vinyl reissue)

Tinted Windows

BMG, 2024


REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


In the fizzy, riff-drunk genre of power pop, there are supergroups, and then there’s Tinted Windows.

The four-aces quartet, authors of just this one 2009 album—recently given a loving, bonus-track-laden 15th anniversary vinyl reissue—came together when songwriter/bassist/producer Adam Schlesinger of Fountains Of Wayne was hanging out with his longtime pal and studio partner, guitarist/producer James Iha (at that time formerly of Smashing Pumpkins). Along the way, Schlesinger had also crossed paths with Taylor Hanson (of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 THAT Hanson), who was eager to work with him. The three men started trading ideas and riffs and, as the conversation developed, started talking about who would be their dream choice for the drum seat. The consensus quickly settled on one longshot candidate—and to their lasting delight, Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick said yes.

I won’t rehash my previous review of the original CD other than to say that the combo works better than anyone drawing it up on paper could have dreamed. Hanson sounds thoroughly energized, Iha has a blast while showing off his versatility, Carlos drives the bus with muscular authority, and Schlesinger writes most of these vibrant songs while co-producing with Iha.

The two bonus tracks added on this new vinyl reissue don’t offer any big revelations, but were you really expecting any? This is a band that is what it is, and both songs are very much in the vein of the other dozen from the original CD. “New Cassette” is a thrummy anthem, riding a wide-open early-Who rhythm track, with an inside-baseball lyric about life in a band. “The Dirt,” a bonus track taken from the Japanese edition of the original album, features another fresh “look” from the chameleon-like Iha, chunky verse chords breaking out at the pumping chorus on this tune about a bitter ex-girlfriend taking her revenge public.

The whole thing is beautifully packaged in the original album’s bold retro artwork, stamped onto groovy two-toned red and black vinyl that delivers the kind of analog warmth that just adds to the overall vibe. Tinted Windows was a one-shot you always wondered if the quartet might revisit, a fantasy dashed by Schlesinger’s tragic passing in the early days of the COVID pandemic. What we’re left with, then, is this single exuberant album, lovingly reissued here in all its slightly kitschy yet phenomenally catchy glory.

Rating: A-

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