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Gin Blossoms

Mixed Reality

Review by Gary Hill

Fans of Gin Blossoms should really like this album. It's a solid set that is instantly recognizable as them. There isn't a huge amount of variety here, but there is enough to keep it interesting. Other than a short little bit of weirdness that could have been left off, there is nothing here that's really weak. There are some definite shining stars, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Break
A melodic rocker, this really sounds like precisely what you'd expect from this band. It's a classy tune that's catchy and has some meat on its bones. It's a great way to start things in style.
Face the Dark
I dig the melodic jangly kind of guitar sound on this piece. The number has a cool groove and works well. It's perhaps a bit less immediate than the opener, but it's no less effective.
New Mexico Trouble
This more of a hard rocker. There is some cool crunch on the guitar sound and a real driving energy to it.
Angels Fly
This feels sort of like the middle ground between the last couple songs. It has both the more rocked out texture, but also drops back for more melodic sounds. It's definitely another that feels like trademark Gin Blossoms.
Here Again
Another classy alternative rocker, this number isn't a huge change. Instead, it's a particularly catchy and effective slab of just the kind of music you expect from these guys.
Still Some Room in Heaven
The energy on this is strong. The cut is another that's particularly catchy. I love the main guitar hook that is prevalent here, too.
Miranda Chicago
There are hints of psychedelia in some of the over-layers on this song. I dig the guitar sounds on the cut. The horns add something to the mix, too. This is one of the most purely fun tracks here. It's just a good time.
Girl on the Side
A mellower tune, the lyrics to this are sad. I like this one, and it brings some variety. That said, it's not one of my favorites on the disc.
Fortunate Street
I dig the cool old school rock and roll vibe that starts this. As the vocals join, it's easily recognizable as Gin Blossoms music. It's another energetic tune that works well.
Wonder
There is a bit of a sense of wonderment in the melody that opens this. It's a mellower tune that has some hints of psychedelia and other retro sounds in the mix. I like the dreamy kind of chorus on the song quite a bit. It also brings some definite variety to the table.
Shadow
This comes in with a harder rocking almost punky arrangement. This has a lot of energy and really rocks. The chorus hook is particularly catchy, too.
Forever Is This Night
I dig the almost folk like sound that starts this. The cut works out from there into some trademark Gin Blossoms stuff. This is another that brings some variety while representing precisely what you expect from these guys.
The JFK S*** Show
This is a short little jazzy jam that's just a bit of weirdness. As you can guess from my edit of the title, it gets a parental advisory.
The Devil's Daughter
The very first line of this one brings a parental advisory, too. It's a cool rocker that's energetic and fun. It also brings some variety.
Mega Pawn King
There is almost a country edge to this cut. Beyond that it's a pretty standard Gin Blossoms tune. The lyrics to this are kind of "slice of life" stuff. I dig the electric guitar solo later in the piece. The powered up vocals after that along with the impassioned musical arrangement, really elevate the piece. That's a great way to end the album in fun style. In fact, it's one of the best musical passages of the disc.
 
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