THE LONGSHADOWS; "Simple Minded Way" (Uranus Laboratories)***

The last time the Gin Blossoms played in Salt Lake City was February 1996. It was a great show at the University of Utah's Union Ballroom.

Since then the band has been taking a break, and lead singer Robin Wilson formed his side band Poppin' Wheelies, which released its debut album in 2000. That same year, on New Year's Eve, the Blossoms got back together for a New Year's Eve party in Phoenix, the band's hometown.

A few weeks ago, a duo called The Longshadows released its debut album "Simple Minded Way" on the independent label Uranus Laboratory. The lead singer is none other than Wilson, and his musical partner this time around is Steve French of the Starclub.

The album features Wilson's trademark restlessly melodic vocals with French's introspective lyrics. The result: a perfect CD to slide into your car stereo during a long midnight drive.

The production isn't as slick as Gin Blossoms but the arrangements do have a way of staying in your mind even hours after the disc is back in its case.

Whether it's the jangly '60s-influenced guitars on the opening track, "Sail On," or the acoustic-based swing of "Little Birds," this album keeps the listener's attention, even though some of the songs sound quite a bit alike.

The lyrics to "Falling Water," "Weight on My Mind" and "Simple Minded Way" make you step back and mentally reassess your life. In fact, all the lyrics on this album have that effect.

My favorite song is "Wishing We Weren't So," a song about a couple losing touch but still staying together.

Wilson's delivery is melancholic, with a touch of yearning. And it's enough to bring tears to listeners' eyes.

"Simple Minded Way" is available on iTunes or, and it is worth every penny, and every note.

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