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Gin Blossoms CONGRATULATIONS (LP)

Gin Blossoms CONGRATULATIONS (LP)

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Gin Blossoms: Robin Wilson (vocals, acoustic guitar); Jesse Valenzuela (guitar, vocals); Scott Johnson (guitar, background vocals); Bill Leen (bass, background vocals); Phillip Rhodes (drums, percussion, background vocals). Additional personnel: Rick Purcell (acoustic guitar); Robbie Turner (pedal steel guitar); Rick Steff (accordion); Art Neville (Hammond B-3 organ). Recorded at Ardent Studios, Memphis, Tennessee and Vintage Recorders, Phoenix, Arizona. "As Long As It Matters" was nominated for a 1997 Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. CONGRATULATIONS I'M SORRY continues the Gin Blossoms' power pop ways--all jangly guitars, striking hooks, and unshakable choruses. There is a bit more polish here than on 1992's NEW MISERABLE EXPERIENCE, which made 'em stars, and the even, well-rounded production allows each member an opportunity to shine, resulting in a strong, harmonious sound. Frontman Robin Wilson sings with sincerity and is unafraid to express real emotion, never falling back on a detatched, rock star-type facade. After a three-and-a-half-year hiatus, and the sense of anticipation intensified by the absence of guitarist and songwriter Doug Hopkins (who left the band in 1992 and committed suicide the following year), CONGRATULATIONS is a gratifying payoff. Lyrically, the Gin Blossoms may sound somewhat less bittersweet, but on the strength of sheer pop content, they continue to satisfy. Most observers wondered if the Gin Blossoms would be able to deliver a consistent second album after the departure (and subsequent suicide) of Doug Hopkins, their former guitarist who wrote "Hey Jealousy" and "Found Out About You," the two big hits from the band's debut. Congratulations...I'm Sorry proves that they can. The Gin Blossoms haven't backed away from the sound that made New Miserable Experience a hit. It's filled with chiming guitars, sweet melodies, and simple, catchy hooks, as well as a sturdy grasp of traditional pop/rock songwriting that results in a number of gems. The only fault of Congratulations...I'm Sorry is that it sounds a bit too close to the debut -- there's virtually no difference in terms of style and production. As such, it builds a case for their craftsmanship. The Gin Blossoms may not have much new to say, but they say it well throughout Congratulations...I'm Sorry. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Vinyl