This is an interesting album by the Old 97’s. It is the second installment from the Grand Theatre volumes they released and it plays like it. It seems almost as if it is an extension of the slightly better Volume 1.
The Grand Theatre could have been a nice sprawling double album by the band but they chose to release it in two pieces about a year apart. I don’t think this is bad, it allows more time to savor the flavor of the works separately rather than in one large portion.
The songs are good, as good as any of their other work really, the only thing is that it plays like it is really nothing that new. It is simply another solid album. It has the songs of single quality (“I’m A Trainwreck” “Manhattan (I’m Done)”) and the solid songs fans will be requesting for years (“The Actor” “Visiting Hours”) It has another two solid Murry Hammond songs as well(“White Port” “How Lovely It All Was”) It is an Old 97’s record.
The highlight of the album may well be the latter half. A great string of songs are hidden in the high numbers of the track-listing: (“Bright Spark” “Visiting Hours” “How Lovely It All Was”) “I’m A Trainwreck” looks to be the lasting impression from the disc. It is easy to envision the song being in the live set nightly to much acclaim from fans.
Ultimately The Grand Theatre Volume 2 won’t win awards or become the band’s masterpiece. It is simply another solid album to add the bands already impressively stellar catalog.
Key Tracks: “I’m A Trainwreck” “No Simple Machine” “How Lovely It All Was”