The Old 97’s are a model of consistency. How does a band achieve this? How about rattling through 11 studio albums over 23 years with the same lineup. For a band that has been around so long they are still remarkably interesting.
On this album “Graveyard Whistling” they show sincerity and humor as they always have. You’ll see lead singer Rhett Miller dive head-first into self loathing on “All Who Wander” where the band keeps the song upbeat enough to trick a casual listener into thinking it’s not depressing as hell. That being said it might be the strongest track on the record. They touch interestingly on religion a couple times here as well. First with the witty “Jesus Loves You” where you a slightly different take as in Hayes Carll’s “She Left Me For Jesus” as the instigator competes with Jesus for a girl. Then the darker and more serious “Good With God” where the band creates their sure lock single of this group of songs with the help of Brandi Carlile. They use the same dark vibe to make “I Don’t Wanna Die In This Town” and can’t miss track as well. On “Drinkin’ Song” the band plays fast and sloppy matching the barroom mystique of the song. Only the outgoing charm of Rhett Miller could pull off the chorus of “Hell yes, hell yes, hell yes, right on, right on, right on” on the track.
Again, the Old 97’s fully deliver. This isn’t a surprise. If they have a new record just buy it because it will be good.
Key Tracks: “Good With God” “All Who Wander” “I Don’t Wanna Die In This Town”