Major Lodge Victory
First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2006, Volume 13, #8
Written by John Metzger
Despite its successes, Gin Blossoms never fully recovered after the departure (and subsequent suicide) of songwriter-guitarist Doug Hopkins. Although he was tossed from the band prior to the recording of its debut New Miserable Experience, his songs Hey Jealousy and Found Out about You were instrumental in pushing the album to its double-platinum status. Without the emotional complexity of Hopkinsí material, however, the ensembleís follow-up Congratulations Iím Sorry merely retread the same ground in a solid but less than satisfying fashion. Therefore, it wasnít surprising at all when the groupís members opted to go their separate ways.
Ten years and several less than stellar side projects later, the Gin Blossoms is officially back in business. Although its new outing Major Lodge Victory adds only a few new tricks to its repertoire, the bandís knack for crafting indelible melodies remains wholly intact. Better still, the ensemble sounds utterly re-energized as it confidently blazes its way through songs like Learning the Hard Way, Long Time Gone, and Come On Hard. The guitars rattle, hum, chime, clatter, and squeal in all the right places, drawing a direct connection among its early material, its concert performances, and the works of Weezer and Semisonic. Likewise, the groupís harmonies fold around its propulsive grooves, adding sweet nuances to the crunching, angst-filled thunder. The effort does lose a little steam during its latter third, but the gentle wistfulness of the final track California Sun holds a lot of promise for Gin Blossomís future pursuits. Ĺ
Of Further Interest...
Major Lodge Victory is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box