The Old 97’s don’t pull any tricks musically for their latest album Most Messed Up but there are quite a few shocking moments. You’ll be taken off guard by singer and main lyricist Rhett Miller’s foul language. If this were the band’s only album no attention would be paid to how many times “fuck” is uttered on the record but since The Old 97’s has put out nine other records with only a couple instances of foul language. It doesn’t effect the album a ton but a longtime 97’s can’t help but be distracted by it.
The songs are still solid (as they ALWAYS are) and hold to a tight central theme of drugs and alcohol which is a little disturbing. In the past the group has carefully mixed ballads in with their rockers to create well balanced albums but this time around they scrapped most of the slow stuff to make their most rocking record ever. Even “This is the Ballad” doesn’t have the gentle touch that a regular 97’s ballad has. On the plus side: this record begs to be played loudly at a live show. With self-referential songs about touring and being in a band along with some good old fashioned drinking songs The Old 97’s put together a great record to play at bars and small theaters around the globe.
Rhett Miller and the boys know hooks and this album isn’t lacking them. “Let’s Get Drunk & Get It On” is perfect for a live environment and “Intervention” oozes with fun despite the heavy topic at hand. Murry Hammond gets his one punch in with the song “The Ex of all You See” and Ken Bethea thrives on the louder record by getting an knockout total of licks in over the course of the album. If you can keep from being distracted by drug references and the word “fuck” quite a bit, this is just another solid 97’s album.
Key Tracks: “Intervention” “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive” “Let’s Get Drunk & Get It On”