The Gin Blossoms’ first major-label release–a five-song EP on A&M called Up and Crumbling–is pleasurable if not hugely promising. The band is a quintet from Tempe, Arizona, a slightly dirtier, more laconic BoDeans, with a disheveled tenor in front, some nice harmonies in back, and the sweetened-up guitar grinding that defines Amer-rock as we know and love it. Based on Up and Crumbling (I don’t know their original indie release), I’m not sure they have anything all that important to say, or if they did whether any of the band’s several songwriters would be able to put it into words. But there’s a shambling charm here, nicely captured in the EP’s title, that says a lot just by itself, and I’ve seen this lanky and sweaty outfit tear a club apart two years running at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin. There’s a full A&M album due out next year, apparently; the show Saturday, opening for the irrepressible Goober and the Peas, is to my knowledge the band’s first visit to Chicago. Saturday, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Dennis Keeley.