Admit it: you’ve been waiting for the Gin Blossoms to get back together for more than two years now. You just can’t live without the scrumptious melodies, the tambourines, and the happy twanging guitars. We feel for you. So to, apparently, does Robin Wilson, late of the Gin Blossoms. The singer returns, alas, with From Beyond the Back Burner, a new effort with his new group Gas Giants. (Insert flatulence comments now.) The wait is over. But don’t you remember how satisfying anticipation can be?
From Beyond the Back Burner is nothing more than Gin Blossoms plus, now with more arena rock, and maybe some topical lyrics (“I Hope My Kids Like Marilyn Manson”). Essentially, nothing else has changed but the intensity. Don’t mistake this for, Gwar, however. Think of it more like Tool after a stroke. Wilson and company rumble through listless, boring rockers like “Stinking Up the Charts” (self-fulfilling prophecy?), “Circus of the Stars,” and “Useless,” as if their execution is required for the salvation of the human race. It’s not. In fact, I doubt anyone is holding their breath. The failure of these songs makes decent attempts like “Now the Change, “Quitter,” and the earnest ballad “Whose Side Are You On” moot. Why should they (or we) invest our time into three songs and half-ass the rest?
Suffice it to say that the Gas Giants release probably wasn’t on the top of many “most anticipated” lists of the past year. Still, it’s a little disheartening to see a band like the Gin Blossoms, which showed a fair amount of critical and commercial success to devolve so quietly into this. For real fans only. All others go away, far, far away.
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