Gin Blossoms release doesn’t reflect ten years of work
August 25, 2006 —
Think back to where you were 10 years ago. Think about everything you have accomplished in the 10 years since, everything you have done.
If you were the Gin Blossoms, your answer would be absolutely nothing.
Ten years is a long time - a decade. In the music industry, ten years is like three generations. But this is how long it's been since the last Gin Blossoms album, Congratulations I'm Sorry, hit stores.
Since that time, Ryan Adams (who is not affiliated with the Blossoms but is used here for comparison) has released 12 (yes, 12) albums either solo or with his band Whiskeytown while the Gin Blossoms have released absolutely nothing.
Yes, 10 years is a long time.
But in all fairness, the Blossoms called it quits in 1997 shortly after the peak of their success, with "Follow You Down" being their last big hit single.
They reunited in 2001 for a live show and proceeded to tour every summer thereafter with other nineties washouts like Sponge and Seven Mary Three. But no new material was either released or debuted at their shows.
Finally, in late 2006, fans of the Gin Blossoms can rejoice - sort of.
Their long-awaited follow up to Congratulations I'm Sorry is Major Lodge Victory, an album of traditional Blossoms-esque tunes that are pop-influenced and rarely longer than four and a half minutes.
The disc kicks things off just how it should with the fine "Learning the Hard Way," a catchy tune that is somewhat reminiscent of their earlier work.
Following this are the equally charming "Come on Hard" and "Someday Soon," the latter showcasing singer Robin Wilson's delicate voice much in the same way that "As Long As It Matters" did 10 years prior.
These first three tracks indicate that little has changed since the band fell apart so long ago. And the final few songs prove this as well.
However, the middle of the album is the weakest the Blossoms have ever sounded, with songs that are either too pop-oriented ("Heart Shaped Locket") or just plain corny ("Let's Play Two").
These songs are too polished and feature lyrics that are borderline embarrassing for a band that was so pure and timeless back in their prime.
Thankfully, "Jet Black Sunrise" is thrown in at track 10 to bring the guys back where they belong.
They have always been a band built on that alternative rock sound of the nineties, and any attempt to update that is futile. They need to stick to what they do best.
While Major Lodge Victory has nothing that can even hold a candle to "Hey Jealousy" or "Found Out About You" from New Miserable Experience, it is a pleasant album.
Unfortunately, pleasant also means forgettable. Aside from "Learning the Hard Way," this is an album of album tracks. That is, there really aren't any songs worthy of being singles.
And even though the album is pleasant, it only made me want to take it out and listen to New Miserable Experience - and this might be its biggest fault.
Major Lodge Victory is a disc worthy of a listen, even if it might not warrant more than one spin.