Rhythm & Views 

Old 97's

Old 97's frontman Rhett Miller says the band's seventh album is a return to its earlier high-energy sound, a "second childhood" and a re-focus on songwriting.

From the first searing tube-amp-distorted lick of "The Fool," you know he's not lying: The songwriting is melodic and meticulous, the production nice and raw. Yet the record just isn't as invigorating as Too Far to Care or as cathartic as Wreck Your Life. That's the problem with bands that debut with brilliant, genre-redefining work: The only place to go is down.

Still, Gravity has good qualities uniquely its own. In the past, Miller often separated out his country-rock influences from his Kinks-esque leanings track by track, but "No Baby I" and "Early Morning" nod to Ray Davies as much as Johnny Cash--all in the same take. It's a natural melding Miller has struggled to achieve for most of his career.

Bassist Murry Hammond, once just the harmony and covers singer, shows another stride forward in his songwriting with "Color of a Lonely Heart Is Blue," the most arresting track here and perhaps his best to date--and not just because I've been humming it all week. The soft, controlled crack in his voice on the hook has the transcendent quality of a singer finally come into his own: It's enough to send me to cdbaby.com to hunt for Hammond's recently released but obscure solo album, I Don't Know Where I'm Going but I'm on My Way.

More by Andrew Mortazavi

  • Memory and Loss

    A new Latino novelist tackles immigration with a classic love story
    • Jun 26, 2008
  • Rhythm & Views

    Amy Rude
    • May 22, 2008
  • City Week

    Our top picks of what to do and where to do it for the week.
    • May 15, 2008
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

Tucson Jazz Festival 2021 lineup announced

Watch Live: OSIRIS-REx Sample Collection Today

Public Brewhouse Closes After 5 Years

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

Facebook Activity

© 2020 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation