April 21, 2003

Gigolo Aunts "Pacific Ocean Blues"

The band's name is from a Syd Barrett song, and the name of their album is taken from a Dennis Wilson album...do these guys love one (or two)-album wonders or what? Well, looking at the cover of the Gigolo Aunt's newest album, you might think they were trying to make the record Dennis Wilson never made. I know that's what I was expecting. They've served his memory well, mind you; after all, he was one of the men who wrote "You Are So Beautiful," and if you've ever heard his solo album, you'll know that his genius was never appreciated.

Gigolo Aunts are survivors of that bloody "alternative-rock" era, and perhaps it's more of a surprise that they're still around. It's not really surprising, though, that after ten years, their sound has matured into a warm, sunny, positive power-pop with just a hint of that seventies-era singer-songwriter style. While I personally hoped to hear a hint or two of the late, great Dennis Wilson, Pacific Ocean Blues bears more than a passing resemblence to the Posies, but only in the best of ways--mainly due to the harmonies that happen with no warning.

What makes Pacific Ocean Blues nice is the balance between mellow pop and harder rock. Dave Gibbs and Steve Hurley, Gigolo Aunts' songwriting team, can write a mean hook, and I'm sure their collaboration prevents the band from delving into the blandness that often comes hand in hand with power-pop. They have the ability to write a great song, reminiscent of other great songwriting teams: Lennon/McCartney, Auer/Stringfellow, Ham/Evans, and Wilson/Love. "Even Though (The One Before The Last)," "Only You," and "Maybe the Change Will Do Us Good" rival most anything that these other songwriting teams produced.

Like a visit to the beach, Pacific Ocean Blues is a blast of fresh air, as taken from the California coastline. The one thing that makes me sad about this record is that the times have changed so much since these guys first showed up, making an audience for these guys very, very small. Too bad, because the world would really enjoy this record. Grown-ups like music, too, and this record is for them. Gigolo Aunts would fit in quite well with the whole World Cafe radio crowd, and hopefully they'll be on there soon.

--Joseph Kyle

No comments: