Music » Critics' Picks

Gin Blossoms

8:30 p.m. Friday, July 4. Ozzie Smith Sports Complex, as part of the Heritage & Freedom Fest, O'Fallon

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When Gin Blossoms broke up in 1997, it seemed like a strange decision for a band that had just released two modestly successful albums and earned two Billboard top ten singles ("Til I Hear it From You" and "Follow You Down"). But the underlying turmoil of alcohol addiction — along with an industry that was growing less and less accommodating to straightforward rock bands without a novelty hit or Vedder-esque lead singer — makes the band's choice to call it quits seem less surprising in hindsight. Still, the Tempe, Arizona, outfit regrouped several years later and even released an album (Major Lodge Victory) in 2006. Much like previous releases, Victory sounds quintessentially Gin Blossoms — which is to say it connects the dots from the Byrds to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to the Replacements and would have sounded just as relevant had it been released in 1986. The timeless design of a Gin Blossoms song truly makes the band's music stand the test of time — and it's also the reason that you've likely been caught at a stoplight with the windows down singing "Hey Jealousy" at the top of your lungs. It's OK. There's no shame.

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