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By Jonathan Hicks
Its 1994 all over again! Well, at least thats what the Gin Blossoms are hoping now that theyve released Major Lodge Victory, their first studio album in four years.
More than a decade past their popular peak, the much-maligned alt-rockers have endured the suicide of a bandmate, the termination of their record deal and an unpleasant four-year break-up.
Though bands have called it quits permanently because of less, the Gin Blossoms have decided to take another run at rock stardom, this time through an independent label (Hybrid Recordings) and (presumably) with many of their internal issues having been dealt with.
One thing is for certain: the Tempe, Ariz., natives, once considered household names for their hit singles Hey, Jealousy, Found Out About You, and Till I Hear It from You, havent messed with the formula that worked for them. Tried and true guitar melodies and crisp harmonies highlight an album filled with choruses that would fit in perfectly with those radio gems. Guitarist Jesse Valenzuela still serves as primary songwriter and crooner Robin Wilson still takes his place at the microphone.
Unfortunately for the Gin Blossoms, the music world is a much different place today than it was in the post-Nirvana, pre-Backstreet Boys era of the mid 1990s. With that in mind, dont expect any of the tracks on Major Lodge Victory to be on top of any radio stations request list.
However, what the Blossoms still have going for them is that good songs never go out of style. This is what makes Major Lodge Victory a win of the Major League variety. The album is strong from start to finish, with all of the classic Gin Blossoms elements remaining in place. They dont re-invent the wheelbut they dont need to. Any former fans who still enjoy listening to New Miserable Experience or Congratulations Im Sorry will love the new material, even if only out of amazement for the bands consistency.
From the Nov.8-14, 2006, issue