Sky Full of Holes is the fifth studio album by the American rock band Fountains of Wayne. It was released on July 20, 2011 in Japan, on August 1, 2011 in Europe, and on August 2, 2011 in North America. It debuted at number 37 on the US Billboard 200, giving Fountains of Wayne their first Top 40 album on that chart, and debuted at number 16 on the UK independent chart.
Jody Rosen, writing in Rolling Stone, had high praise for the album, and said the storytelling was „sharp“ and the guitar hooks „crunchy,“ with the overall direction of the album darker than previous outings. Jill Menze of Billboard called the album „excellent“, describing it as „a new minimal sound with a poppy, folk-leaning flair.“
Spin gave the album a score of 7/10. Critic Stacey Anderson writes, „‚Sky‘ eschews the occasional decade-hopscotching of 2007’s Traffic and Weather, reaching a new, raw sincerity and cohesiveness: ‚Hate to See You Like This‘ is an anxious entreaty to a depressed girlfriend exquisitely framed by a dramatic backdrop of electric and acoustic guitars.“
Chris Willman of Reuters also strongly recommended the album, but cautioned listeners: „It may be a moot point that the new effort is FOW’s least airplay-friendly, since neither radio nor MTV would likely play this kind of stuff anymore even if the group did manage to come up with a ‚Stacy’s Mom II.‘ But fans who prefer an abundance of power in their power-pop may worry about what the lopsided spunk-to-sadness ratio portends for the beloved band.“ He called „Action Hero“ the best track on the album. Matt Diehl of the Los Angeles Times lauded the album. „Sky teems with immaculate power pop, spanning jangling Beatlesque rockers like “The Summer Place” through the bittersweet balladry of “I Hate to See You Like This”… It’s a remarkably consistent album, full of snappy arrangements, surprising chord changes and tasteful instrumentation, but Collingwood’s voice embodies its true appeal,“ he wrote. „That storytelling depth raises Fountains of Wayne to the apex of their genre, imparting a wry, cynical worldview that lingers well after the snap, crackle and fizz subsides.“
Allison Stewart, reviewing the album for The Washington Post, was more mixed in her assessment. She said, „Sky, with its carefully detailed stories of suburban schlubs, feuding bar owners and luckless Acela riders, hits all the right notes, but something feels off. Slow and sentimental, more wistful than droll, Sky is as interested in loping, acoustic country-folk songs as it is in vigorous pop. If the band’s last album, 2007’s Traffic and Weather, was a Cars homage, Sky is an unofficial tribute to the Jayhawks. It’s not a misfire — one of its gentlest songs, “A Road Song,” is also one of the band’s all-time finest — but those who expect the usual gimlet-eyed power pop (that is to say, most everyone) will be left wondering where it went.“
In the United Kingdom, The Guardian critic Michael Hann described the album’s music as „a more sedate sound, the dominant texture being acoustic guitar overlaid with muted electrics.“ But the sound was a good one for the band, he said, and named the final track, „Cemetery Guns,“ the album’s best for being „beautifully arranged and written with calm understatement“.
All songs written by Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger, except where noted.