No Chocolate Cake

(429 Records)

It’s been 17 years since the Gin Blossoms broke through with their post-grunge power-pop hits “Hey Jealousy” and “Found Out About You.” The band forged on following the tragic suicide of main songwriter Doug Hopkins in late 1993, and even managed to retain its trademark summery style. The latest disc from the on-again, off-again group holds true to that same vibe. Strewn with jangly guitars, hook-laden choruses and soaring vocal harmonies, the songs sound ready-made for pop radio. High points include “Don’t Change for Me,” a churning rocker that evokes mid-period Goo Goo Dolls; “Dead or Alive on the 405,” a horn-laced road song that steers toward Fountains of Wayne territory; and “Somewhere Tonight,” a torch ballad that constitutes a rare stylistic detour. The material can be monotonous, as each song runs into the next with little change in tempo or mood—but there’s no denying that the Gin Blossoms’ melodic gifts remain intact. –RH

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