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TBTS Reviews: Old 97’s – The Grand Theater Vol. 2

July 10, 2011

Every track on The Grand Theater Vol. 2 (New West) has that “one take” kind of feel. With all the overproduced, year in the studio, quantized garbage that the major music labels try to spoon feed everybody with an iPod these days, the Old 97’s are just what your Saturday cookout needs. This would be a great CD to bring along for a weekend BBQ with a dozen or so of your friends. I mean seriously, the Old 97’s are only a few beers away from turning any party into a rowdy sing along, kind of like the local pub after a rugby game.

Strangely familiar, an odd alt country honky tonk Beatles/Monkees influence shines through the Old 97’s lo-fi garage style from time to time, but for them it works. Their guitar sound has always been very “plug in and play:” A little tremolo here, a little reverb there, and some overdrive as needed – and all with a good bit of twang. The Old 97’s tried out the material for The Grand Theater Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 live first, so much of that punchy loose feel was able to be captured on tape, and fortunately remained intact through mixing and mastering.

“I’m a Trainwreck” would be the obvious single (if there even is such a thing anymore) with it’s “Paperback Writer/Last Train to Clarksville” spin off bass line. “Brown Haired Daughter”,  “No Simple Machine” and “White Port” (see above rugby sing along pub reference) are all good tracks. So put on The Grand Theater Vol. 2, turn it up, light the grill and break out the Pabst Blue Ribbon. I like my steak right in between medium and medium well.

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