OLD 97’S

The Grand Theatre Volume One

[New West]

While earlier albums found them etching their own variation on the roots-rock template, The Grand Theatre Volume One suggests the Old 97’s have again chosen to pursue a more rambunctious direction. The three songs that open the album—“The Grand Theatre,” “Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)” and “The Magician”—constitute a rowdy triple threat that soars on rapid-fire refrains and double-time tempos. By ratcheting up the energy, the Dallas-based band creates the impression they’re throwing caution to the wind, relaying the kind of unabashed exuberance they haven’t mustered in quite some time. Even though titles like “Champaign, Illinois” and “A State of Texas” reference divergent realms, each smacks of a rebel spirit that reflects the group’s distant cowpunk past. Brassy, ballsy, bold and defiant, The Grand Theater Volume One offers clear evidence that the Old 97’s are still young guns at heart. –Lee Zimmerman

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