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Gigolo Aunts – Minor Chords and Major Themes

June 29, 2012 Leave a comment

E Pluribus Unum Recordings, 1999

When you like a band once, you keep checking to see if you still like them.  I truly enjoyed “Flippin’ Out” so their follow up record was a must spin for me.  Even if I hadn’t heard of these guys before, the retro album cover with the purple trim is certainly grabbing.  However, showing pictures of contented dudes in a studio screams light music, so anyone else who was willing to dish out the dimes and nickels to hear what Gigolo Aunts were about probably left the hard stuff on the shelf and poured some lemonade as they popped this disc in the player.

The early part of this Boston pop group’s third record can easily turn off some of the more grounded listeners.  The overwhelming positivity of “C’mon C’mon” will give many people a toothache with its sugar impact.  The lyrics of “C’mon c’mon/can’t you feel something going on?” get repeated effusively and, aside from a few bits here and there, they are the only lyrics for the song.  What kind of a tune is that?  Then there’s “Everyone Can Fly” whose title made me gag just by reading it.  Who titles a song that sounds like it was lifted from Sesame Street?  It’s a much softer song in sharp contrast to “C’mon C’mon”, so I am not sure what the point was in getting everybody in a sky high mood only to douse them with light guitars and melancholy vocals.  So yes, the album starts off a bit awkwardly.

The tunes get back to more vibrant pop with “Half a Chance” and “Super Ultra Wicked Mega Love”, though the latter has a few power guitar riffs that heavily remind one of the early to mid-nineties, never mind the late nineties.  As the album quietly slides into “You’d Better Get Yourself Together”, Dave Gibb’s high vocals become very noticeable.  Five tunes in he’s gone from singing with exuberance, singing with balanced aggression, and finally to an absolute feeling of soothing gentleness.  It’s on “Together” that really makes Gigolo Aunts stand out as not just another power pop band.  Gibbs’ vocals help, but the sharply contrasting composition styles give an impression that Gigolo Aunts aren’t going to be predictable for thirteen tracks.

The best track, “The Big Lie”, could have been a big radio hit if it got out of Boston.  Well, and if boy bands and teenage pop princesses didn’t rule the airwaves at that time.  The tune has an urgency during its chorus, which turns out to be Gibbs’ profession that he’s not the right guy for whoever it is.  This is also a song that got stuck in my head for a few days, probably because it actually built up the adrenaline during that aforementioned chorus.  The band doesn’t let up for too long before “Rest Assured” bursts out a few tracks later.  It’s almost as if the band knew their listeners might be nodding off at this point to include two really strong power pop tracks so close together.  The reason is quickly apparent, however, when the last few songs resemble a steep decline into the nice soft pillow that is “Residue”.

Listen to a few tracks by Gigolo Aunts on their MySpace page if you need a power pop shot in the arm.

My body got the shakes from listening to this record, mainly because its energy level got jerked around so much.  I went from snapping the fingers, looking forlornly at a sad puppy picture, swiveling rabidly in my swivel chair, and then passing out.  These songs are everywhere, which can be very frustrating if one wants dwell on a particular side of Gigolo Aunts music.  I personally liked the group when they were energized, but I felt that they sunk too much into the lightweight stuff so that any sort of momentum was quickly eradicated.

Gigolo Aunts did manage to put out one more record in 2002, but the pop band called it quits after a decade of power popping.  It is too bad that their sound is no longer with us, but perhaps they went the way of the Gin Blossoms when they realized everyone (sadly) was listening to nu metal or throaty pop songs.  To think that if they had only stuck around for eight more years they could have caught on the Train bandwagon and sugared us over with crappy songs.  Except they wouldn’t be crappy, for despite my misgivings with the numerous soft tunes I still think that Gigolo Aunts are a great band.  Definitely check them out on 1994’s “Flippin’ Out” or even this album.

Gigolo Aunts – Flippin’ Out

October 6, 2009 1 comment

RCA Records, 1994gigoloAunts

Wait, you say, you mean to tell me that this classic was found in a dollar bin?  And then there’s this other group of you that blurts out, oy, what do you mean by classic, man?!  And then, finally, there’s the few that say you’ve actually spent the night with some auntie gigolos, which I’d rather you just keep to yourself.  Truth is, this is actually a very fine pop album from an old Boston band that had been together for sixteen or so years but only had put out four, mostly so-so records.  I only managed to nab this one not because I knew who these guys were but because the name sounded familiar.  I was probably thinking of the Red Aunts, or “Just a Gigolo”, at the time.  Lucky me, this was lurking in a bin waiting for me to toss some quarters at it.

On first listen one might feel that these guys sound like the usual inoffensive stuff that just rolls off the back and slips away from memory.  However, there is something to be said for a rather uplifting record that, amidst the Nirvanas and NINs at the time, is solidly warm from start to finish.  The tune “Where I Find My Heaven” is simply a blissful love song that doesn’t disguise its author’s intent, while even the most hard-edged tune of “Gun” takes the time to enjoyably soften in the chorus.  What separates this record from most pop albums is that nearly every song is at least four minutes long, so instead of worrying about an attention span issue that is increasingly an issue these days, the Gigolo Aunts want you to bask in their poppiness.  I haven’t found a truly skippable track yet, so I suppose they got it right.

Check out Gigolo Aunts on MySpace, or just love this song as much as I do here:

I was relieved that this record turned out be so listenable despite what was a shaky recollection at best on my part. Unfortunately, I was nowhere near the Boston scene when the Gigolo Aunts were playing the long lost venues of lore, so I bet there were a few live shows I’d like to time warp back to. So it goes, but at least these guys left this excellent record behind before slowly disappearing. Gotta give them a posthumous award of great worth, and that is the Golden Dollar!

OneDollarPin

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