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Gin Blossoms: Mixed Reality

by Richard Lynch

There's a new Gin Blossoms album and it follows the band's recent trek to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their groundbreaking and chart-topping New Miserable Experience. The coming set called Mixed Reality feature's 15 jangly tracks but the results are mixed. Fans hoping for a new New Miserable Experience will be sadly disappointed mainly because that album that launched the Arizona-based act to new heights was a near perfect platter of infectious power pop driven rock.

There are echoes of the Gin Blossoms' radio friendly sound on songs like the opener "Break" and the enlightening one that follows "Face The Dark". Both could be out-takes from the golden era of a quarter of a century ago proving the guys can still tap into what got them here in the first place. Fourth out of the gate is the heavenly "Angels Fly" but even this isn't enough to lift them from the faux pas to come.

They lose us by the fifth song "Here Again". In 2018 the opioid crisis in America is now resulting in a death toll surpassing that of the Vietnam War - annually. Everybody knows someone impacted by this. Seems like a bad call. Enough of the glorification of the fragile flower's white stuff. But it gets worse.

The unlucky song #13 is the anachronistic "The JFK Shit Show" that serves no purpose other than filler leading directly into the misguided and unnecessarily crass "The Devil's Daughter". Sure, we get it. She's got daddy issues and is probably a good lay. But, not every demonic impulse needs to be put on tape. The album closes with the depressing "Mega Pawn King" and its broken down scenes of gentrification in a hapless hometown. Unfortunately, this one's just not good enough to be called Miserable and that's just an observation based on reality and repeated listens.


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