No Chocolate Cake

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If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. We’ve all
heard that at some point in our lives and when I was preparing to
write this review, that sentiment was haunting me like a ghost. Full
disclosure here, I’ve met the Gin Blossoms, I’ve actually had drinks
with them in New York City way back in 1995 and they are delightful
lads. That is why I am finding it so difficult to write this review. If you
can’t say anything nice…ok, so here goes.

No Chocolate Cake, the new album from the Gin Blossoms is 11 mild
tracks of jangly guitar tunes that is the perfect cure for anyone longing
to be transported to a college campus in the spring of 1995 walking
around with their 5th beer occasionally listening to some band playing
in the background.

Is that not nice? You decide. Here’s more.

Do you recall the Gin Blossom’s sound? Well that is what you’re
getting on this album and I know that’s a pretty obvious statement but
15 years later one would think that perhaps there would be an
evolution of some kind, anything, something. But to those die-hard
fans out there, fear not because No Chocolate Cake is serving up
everything Gin Blossoms just as you like it. Nothing on this record will
throw you off your fanwagon.

The single from the album is Miss Disarry and is by far the best tune
to be found here. It has a semblance of attitude and hooks that is
lacking on most of the other offerings on the album. Robin Wilson’s
vocal style works well in this song where as on most of the album it
just sounds like he’s so uninterested in what he’s singing and I think
maybe this hints at the main issue with No Chocolate Cake, it barely
has a pulse. The words that pop into my head are, nice, fine, bland,
and ho-hum. But I know they have fans, and lots of them so perhaps
all they want to do is please the fans they already have and are not
interested in garnering new interest. And there is nothing wrong with
that at all.

This is coming off a little harsh so let me add something here. The
Gin Blossoms are a very good live band. The songs have a presence,
energy and enthusiasm when they play them live and it makes one
ask, why couldn’t some of this be translated to a recording?
I wish the Gin Blossoms well, I really do. And I know I have probably
disobeyed the if you can’t say anything nice rule and for that I
apologize.

The truth is the Gin Blossom’s music has always eluded me and I
wish No Chocolate Cake reversed that trend. Alas, it does not.

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