Gin Blossoms: No Chocolate Cake

RIYL: Marshall Crenshaw, Del Amitri, Toad the Wet Sprocket

The Gin Blossoms pulled a nifty comeback when they dropped Major Lodge Victory in 2006. It didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but this is the Gin Blossoms we’re talking about – they’re just not one of those bands, and there isn’t a goddamn thing wrong with that. Unfortunately, while the band may not be reinventing themselves, they are repeating a disturbing pattern from their days in the spotlight: following a good album with an inferior one.


And whle we’re talking about their first “inferior” album, let’s be clear about one thing up front: Congratulations I’m Sorry was not a bad record. Granted, it wasn’t a great record, but its biggest crime was that it wasn’t able to catch the public off guard like New Miserable Experience did. As radio songs go, “Day Job,” “Follow You Down” and “Not Only Numb” are only slightly, only slightly behind “Hey Jealousy,” “Found Out About You” and “Mrs. Rita” on the ear candy scale. The biggest thing Congratulations had against it was timing, and the same could be said of No Chocolate Cake. Once the Blossoms put Major Lodge Victory on the shelves, they lost the element of surprise once again. Chocolate Cake is perfectly pleasant, and occasionally more than that, namely “Wave Bye Bye” and “Something Real,” which was inexplicably relegated to the album’s basement (song #10 out of 11). Lead single “Miss Disarray” hits all of the same buttons that their earlier songs hit; the problem is that those buttons don’t work anymore.

But is that the Gin Blossoms’ fault? If anything, give them credit for sticking to their guns and doing the one thing they know how to do really well, commercial prospects be damned. A weaker band would have turned in some lame Rob Thomas knockoff a decade ago for another chance at the brass ring. Not the Gin Blossoms. If they’re going down, they’re going down doing what they love, and they deserve credit for that. Besides, that corporate circuit is a profitable one, from what we’ve heard, and there isn’t a goddamn thing wrong with that, either. (429 Records 2010)

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Click to buy Chocolate Cake from Amazon