Pacific Ocean Blues
“The Big Lie” from Gigolo Aunts’ 1999 album Minor Chords and Major Themes was one of the best bounce-around-the-room pop songs I’ve heard in the last few years. The L.A. by way of Boston band’s latest record starts off by following that formula nicely. “Hello” is terrifically bouncy and “Mr. Tomorrow” has jangly guitars, pounding drums and sweet harmonies. “Even Though (The One Before the Last)” is a shimmering pop diamond that sounds like it could have been a hit in the ’80s. And “Let Go!” is a horn-inflected rocker with some hot guitar work and some Beach Boys-like harmonies (the album title is a play on Dennis Wilson”s 1977 album Pacific Ocean Blue). It’s the kind of number that makes you want to drive just a little faster.
Unfortunately the band can’t sustain the momentum and it’s when they slow things down that the problems creep in. The title track is a too-sappy acoustic number that sounds too much like Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” Later the band purloins Del Amitri’s “Be My Downfall” for “My Favorite Regret.” And “Lay Your Weary Body Down” is a generic ballad weighted down with overly familiar lyrics: “When everything that once was right is wrong / When every little ray of hope is gone.”
“Once In Awhile” is an acoustic tune with a bit more personality. But for the most part, the band is best off sticking to the quicker tempos and the power side of the power pop equation as on the mid-period Beatles style rocker “Stay,” the near epic “Maybe the Change Will Do Us Good,” and the bonus track “Long Scattered Daydream.” It’s at these moments that the band rivals the finest purveyors of this style, like the Nova Scotia band Sloan.