Gin Blossoms - 'Mixed Reality' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 27, 2018    
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The band's first album in eight years quite easily slots right into their discography.

"Tell me do you think it'd be all right, if I could just crash here tonight?"; and so, in the summer of 1993, my love affair with the Gin Blossoms began. On the strength of 'Hey Jealousy', I purchased the album 'New Miserable Experience' and have been a big fan ever since, and that particular song is one of my all-time favourites.

'Mixed Reality' is the band's first album in eight years and their sixth in total, and it quite easily slots right into their discography. They have a sound once described as "melancholy wrapped up in jangly guitars and vocal harmonies". It's by no means a "nostalgia" record because it has a modern freshness to it, perhaps due in part to the production of Don Dixon (R.E.M., Hootie & The Blowfish).

The opening duo of tracks, 'Break' and 'Face The Dark', are both vintage Gin Blossoms styled offerings with the smooth vocals of Robin Wilson and the guitar interplay of Jesse Valenzuela and Scottie Johnson all completely on display. 'New Mexico Trouble' is slightly heavier, more in a Classic Rock vein and it will undoubtedly be a live favourite, while 'Angels Fly' could have easily been lifted from either of their previous two albums ('No Chocolate Cake' and 'Major Lodge Victory') and the same applies to 'Here Again'; they are the sort of Pop Rock songs that this band do so well and all of them are catchy, upbeat and full of vocal harmonies.

'Still Some Room In Heaven' has an earworm of a guitar riff that sounds familiar, but I can't quite put my finger on it, and Bill Leen's bass drives the Neil Diamond-esque 'Miranda Chicago' which also features a trombone solo. 'Fortunate Street' has a Southern/Country Rock feel, whereas 'Shadow' is all punky and full of attitude with an intro that sounds very Sex Pistols-like.

What we have here is an album with contents that include "loud drums, lots of guitars and some singing with curse words" as well as being full of "heartache, compromise and Hi-Fi Rock & Roll". It actually says that on the album sleeve, so it must be true.

This is the soundtrack to my summer, but I do have a couple of questions. Firstly, and maybe I'm being a bit pedantic here, but why only a two-word title when the previous five albums have all been three words? Secondly, how about a UK tour?

Cat O'Brien

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