Though the members of Tinted Windows have crossed paths over the years, it wasn't until recently that the group — singer Taylor Hanson (of "Mmm Bop" fame), ex-Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, bassist Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne, Ivy) and Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos — decided to band together and craft songs that reflect their mutual love of late-'70s and early-'80s power-pop and new wave. These guys may have come from different directions, but as a foursome, they mesh well. Hanson, Iha and Schlesinger all contribute songs, but rather than having the distinctive stamp of their individual authors, these songs are the work of a unit.
Tinted Windows' brand of young-sounding power-pop fits in nicely with the likes of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. Iha's propulsive guitar riffs come at you in a rush, and Hanson sings with a boyishly giddy enthusiasm throughout (Zac Efron-cute, he looks even better now than he did at the peak of his teen-idol years with Hanson). It helps that the songs are instantly addictive. Schlesinger wrote the lion's share of the tunes, which is just as well — they're the strongest songs in the bunch. Lyric-wise, they keep to matters of the heart. The buzzing power surge of "Kind of a Girl" careens from a dizzy first encounter to a disillusioned finale; the heavier "Nothing to Me" finds him standing up to an emotionally abusive girlfriend. From the hypnotic, repetitive chorus that powers "Doncha Wanna" to the bracing thrust of "We Got Something," the high-energy sugar rush of Tinted Windows is nothing short of, well, bubblicious. — Tierney Smith