LP #3 for this fine D.C. quintet is a disappointment. This writer usually loves good, strong production, so the hiring of Cliff Norrell, fresh from his inspired mixing work on Catherine Wheel's Happy Days and R.E.M.'s Automatic For the People, sounded perfect for V.G. Instead, Norrell's taken the spunk out of them. The sound is not too glossy, or dull, or plodding. It's just too perfect, too streamlined, too clean, transforming a promising indie outfit into just another pop group, like a million faceless others. The group's long-standing virtues, its modesty, it's love of pop craft, it's amiable nature, are all here, and Gilded Stars should be a fine effort, but it lacks the old edge. "Gilded Stars" and "Same Old City" should be world-beaters; instead they're world-wearies headed toward easy-listening oblivion. That these songs came to life live, recently, points the finger at a confining production job.
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AllMusic Review by Jack Rabid