For the better part of two decades, Chris Collingwood has made oft-ignored, high-class power-pop with Fountains of Wayne. Most of the world knows the band as one of the boats lifted by Weezer’s second coming in the early aughts, back when a Cars-inspired earworm like “Stacy’s Mom” would show up on teenage mixtapes and ABC sitcoms and be at home on both. Those paying attention before (and after) know Fountains of Wayne are the good kind of one-hit-wonder that has boatloads of good songs unexplored by the public at large, much more Harvey Danger than SR-71.

How long can a smart songwriter toil away in semi-obscurity before it’s time to make a significant change? Under the moniker Look Park, Collingwood has an unfortunate answer to that question: until you start to sound like Billy Joel. Look Park is a breezy, effortless collection of mid-tempo piano pop seemingly created as a soundtrack for the formerly hip, sipping white wine and going to bed early. Catchy and well-structured, it’s nevertheless devoid of anything that might appeal to a modern pop fan under the age of 30.

Of course, not every catchy record has to be built for teen make out sessions. The album’s best tracks recall the specificity of vision and bite of Elvis Costello or Randy Newman. “Stars of New York,” the album’s most immediate song, is somehow both a bright-eyed appreciation and sly putdown of the instant celebrity that comes with living in America’s most crowded city: “They’re all around you/ The Stars of New York…/ And when pushes come to shove/ They probably fall in love/ Like you do.” “Crash that Piano” is a spiritual successor to Tom Waits’ “The Piano Has Been Drinking,” even if the latter sounds like the end of a three-day bender and the former sounds like a slight headache after one too many glasses of champagne. The calypso swing of “Minor is the Lonely Key” and Americana-strumming of “Aeroplane” suggest that Collingswood is as interested in playing with different rhythms as he is crafting catchy tunes.

It’s easy to react to an album like Look Park and think, “they don’t make ‘em like this anymore” or “I bet I’d like this if I liked Fountains of Wayne.” While it’s hard to argue with either sentiment, Collingswood remains as focused and talented a songwriter as he ever has. One wonders if Look Park project follows a new muse as the songwriter surrenders to youth culture. Or is it simply a collection of Jens Lekman-style piano music tailor-made for a mid-level indie hit? Maybe it doesn’t matter. There’s a place in the world for pop music that doesn’t try to keep up with the Joneses, and Collingswood sounds right at home there.

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