|After a four-year hiatus, gifted power popsters Fountains of Wayne return with a new album, “Sky Full of Holes,’’ out Tuesday. It is every bit as tuneful and thoughtful as the previous four, chock-full of engaging new character studies and songs both clever and heartbreaking. The Grammy-nominated band, famed for its hit “Stacy’s Mom,’’ will also hit the road to support “Sky’’ with three area shows, one at the Wellfleet Beachcomber on Aug. 11 and two at Brighton Music Hall, Aug. 12-13. For the first night at the Brighton Music Hall, the quartet - singer-guitarist and Northampton resident Chris Collingwood (standing, background), bass player Adam Schlesinger, guitarist Jody Porter, and drummer Brian Young - will be going full-scale electric. Then they’ll strip down to acoustics for the next night’s performance.|
Q. Although you guys typically take several years between albums, what took you so long this time?
A. Largely the reason that everything takes as long as it does is because Adam is involved in a lot of projects. We tour for a year and a half when the record comes out, and then it’s a while of writing, and then it’s a while of trying to get back in the studio. This record probably would’ve come out earlier than it did, except we definitely butted heads on this record a lot more than we did on any other record. There was a lot of fighting.
Q. Since the sound of the record isn’t markedly dissimilar from your past work, it would be interesting to know why. Does that mean somebody did a lot more compromising in the past and you’re just not doing that anymore?
A. When we made the last record, I was not doing well in a lot of different ways, drunk a lot of the time. I didn’t contribute a whole lot to the last record, and I think we settled into a situation where Adam was taking control of a lot of things. I only wrote three songs on the previous Fountains of Wayne record, so when this one came along I had a lot more to bring. It was just a matter of bringing everything back into balance, and there was a lot of fighting about it. (Laughs.)
Q. Are things good now?
A. I guess it’s the corniest thing in the world to say that I think it’s the best thing we’ve done, but honestly this is the record I’m happiest with the final result, even though it was the hardest one to do.
Q. Do you think the fact that you don’t drink so much anymore has anything to do with your satisfaction?
A. Yeah. (Laughs.) That’s true.
Q. It’s been 15 years since your debut album. Does it seem like a long time ago or just yesterday?
A. The only time it ever seems like a long time to me is when I ponder the idea of having to go get a desk job somewhere again. (Laughs.) And thinking, “Jesus, I’m not qualified to do anything anymore. This is my life and I have to do this whether it’s with Fountains of Wayne or on my own; this is all I got.’’ Which is funny, because before I was a computer programmer, and if you step out of that field for a while, you’re just [expletive]. Technology just zooms past you.
Q. You’re not in any danger of having to get a desk job, are you?
A. Geez, I hope not. I don’t know. (Laughs.)
Q. Did you happen to see Katy Perry singing your song “Hackensack’’ on her MTV Unplugged?
A. They sent me that DVD when it came out, and I watched it once and, yeah . . . it was weird. She’s such an amazing singer, but she changed the whole thing around. Have you seen it?
Q. Yes. She sings the chorus down in her register and the verses up, the opposite of what you do on “Welcome Interstate Managers.’’
A. Yeah, it’s really weird. I don’t know what possessed her to do that, but it’s cool anyway.
Q. Has anyone come up to you to say they discovered you through her since she mentioned you on the air?
A. No. (Laughs.) I think that a lot of people who listen to Katy Perry don’t know or care where the song came from or who wrote it. Maybe I’m wrong about that.
Interview has been edited and condensed. Sarah Rodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.