Tempe-based rockers the Gin Blossoms didn’t have a long run with their initial go round – just three albums before breaking up in 1997 – but man, two of those records are now rightly considered classics. UMe is finally putting out 1992’s “New Miserable Experience” and 1996’s “Congratulations, I’m Sorry” out on limited edition colored vinyl just in time for the 25th anniversary of the former.
“New Miserable Experience” was an alt rock/power pop landmark ‘90s release. Recorded at Memphis’ Ardent Studios (appropriately enough, the home studio of one of the band’s biggest musical influences, Big Star), the record appeared to come out of nowhere thanks to the wildly successful single “Hey Jealousy,” followed up by “Found Out About You.” The albums holds up well with age, which is more than you can say about a lot of rock/pop bands from that decade. Those musical touchstones, Big Star, R.E. M. and The Replacements, help to keep those songs timeless.
The follow up, “Congratulations, I’m Sorry,” though still a great record when taken on its own, pales only when being compared to the band’s pervious release. There are still some great songs here, like “Follow You Down,” “Till I hear From You” and some of the deeper tracks, like the twangy “Memphis Time,” but song for song, “New Miserable Experience” just sounds like a more cohesive album.
The band would break up a year after the release of “Congratulations, I’m Sorry,” and ultimately reunite again in 2002. They still record and tour to this day, but these two remain the best in the band’s catalog so far.
Gin Blossoms – New Miserable Experience and Congratulations, I’m Sorry / UMe / 2017 / http://www.ginblossoms.net/