Chaos in Bloom

Goo Goo Dolls

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Chaos in Bloom Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

It's hard to believe, but Chaos in Bloom is the first Goo Goo Dolls album produced by co-leader Johnny Rzeznik on his own. Throughout their lengthy career, Goo Goo Dolls -- who in 2022 consist of Rzeznik and his longtime partner Robby Takac -- have worked with a number of superstar producers, so it's not surprising that the guitarist/vocalist has picked up some tricks, enough to make the album gleam and glisten in a fashion that's quite professional if not quite contemporary in 2022. Then again, the Buffalo alt-rockers never attempt to make any concessions to fashion on Chaos in Bloom, nor do they stray far from their tried-and-true tuneful AAA rock. Over the course of ten tight tracks, the duo punch up not just the guitars and the melodies, they layer on instrumental and vocal harmonies, overdubbing so many backing vocals on "Loving Life" that it conjures memories of prime Def Leppard. Occasionally, the record drifts into reflective territory that betrays its pandemic creation, but where most lockdown albums linger in slow, quiet territory, Goo Goo Dolls ultimately rally with melodic, fist-pumping rock intended to empower as much as entertain. If, apart from the occasional slick synthesized gloss, Chaos in Bloom doesn't sound markedly different than other Goo Goo Dolls albums, give the band -- and especially producer Rzeznik -- credit for this: over 30 years into their career, they know what works for them and what doesn't, so they showcase their attributes to their best effect on this tight, lean record.

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