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Pacific Ocean Blues

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Album Review

The last two Gigolo Aunts albums were each '90s power pop classics but sat at extreme opposite ends of the pop spectrum. Flippin' Out, with its unruly solos, closely resembled hard rock and grunge, while the adult contemporary trappings of Minor Chords and Major Themes bore more of a resemblance to Fleetwood Mac than Big Star. Fans were often divided, then, when discussing which Gigolo Aunts was better: the rock band or the pop band, and since there was so little middle ground in the two releases it was easy to pick favorites. But after another label shuffle and a three-year absence, the (initially) import-only Pacific Ocean Blues is the closest thing to a "definitive" album that the Gigolo Aunts have ever released. The smooth production values of the last album still reign here, but the band doesn't hesitate to rock out a lot more, which produces some of the band's most memorable material. Specifically, "Let Go!" is easily the most infectious and immediate song in the Gigolo Aunts' cannon — while it runs for just over five minutes, the song packs in two fantastic, flashy guitar solos and a killer horn-inflected chorus. And on the more "adult" side, "Even Though (The One Before the Last)" tops nearly all of the mid-tempo material on the last album. This is still not the album to start with — Flippin' Out is really a power pop classic of its time and is where any beginner should look — but anyone paying attention to the scattershot career of this formerly Boston-based band will find that Pacific Ocean Blues, by tying up the band's stylistic loose ends, is possibly the Gigolo Aunts' most consistent listen. [The 2003 reissue adds a bonus track.]


Formed: 1986 in Boston, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Taking their name from the Syd Barrett song, the effervescent power-pop unit Gigolo Aunts first came together in 1981 in Potsdam, New York as Sniper. The group -- comprised of vocalist/guitarist Dave Gibbs, brothers Phil and Steve Hurley (on lead guitar and bass, respectively) and drummer Phil Brouwer -- went through a series of subsequent names like Marauder and Rosetta Stone before settling on Gigolo Aunts (a suggestion from Gibbs' father) and moving to Boston in 1986. In 1988, the band issued...
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Pacific Ocean Blues, Gigolo Aunts
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