Exactly 14 summers ago Arizona's Gin Blossoms released New Miserable Experience, eventually going multiplatinum on the strength of timeless powerpop anthems "Hey Jealousy" and "Found Out About You." A so-so follow-up (not to mention the alcohol- and depression-fueled exit of their principle songwriter), however, led to a subsequent split in '97. Now, after a 2002 reunion, comes Major Lodge Victory. Against all odds it's a worthy successor to NME, evoking that album's twinned vibe of ecstasy and melancholy.
Guitarist Jesse Valenzuela takes on the lion's share of the writing — admittedly, he's abetted by a song doctor, the Rembrandts 'Danny Wilde — in particular serving up the spirited, Beatlesque first single "Learning the Hard Way" and "Long Time Gone" (which contains striking "Found Out…" overtones). Vocalist Robin Wilson's jangly thumper "Come On Hard" also joins the ranks of classic Blossoms compositions. And with Wilson's honey-throated warble still as much a band trademark as the jangles, the album sounds familiar and fresh — the feel-good hit of the '06 summer.