Blame It on Gravity
- Alternative Country
- Buy the CD
Reviewed by Red Rocker
Now with amps up and the self-described “satisfying crunch” of their early material, the 97’s lay a sledge hammer to the rumor mill with the energetic and well-balanced Blame It on Gravity. Bristling with Ken Bethea’s ragged guitar, nuggets like “Ride” and “The Fool” employ the band’s tried-and-true formula with all the urgency of the first time. “This is more than I can tolerate, the kinda pain you got to medicate, I can’t remember why I couldn’t wait to get so close to you,” Miller serenades on the happy-go-lucky “I Will Remain” – one of a handful of mellow tracks that could have fit just as easily on his next solo record. Hard-charging punk rock entries like “Early Morning” and “The One,” however, are what set the 97’s apart from any solo endeavor. The customary two-songs-per-album turned in by bassist Murry Hammond (“This Beautiful Thing” and “Color of a Lonely Heart Is Blue”) are equally interesting -- something Keith Richards could only dream of!
Now more than ever, Old 97’s are melting rock, punk, pop, and vintage country styles together as effortlessly as anyone since the godfathers of this genre, Uncle Tupelo. They’ve now churned out seven studio albums in 15 years since leaving the Dallas club scene in the rearview. “We went into (producer) Salim’s (Nourallah) studio hell-bent on making something great,” says Miller. “It’s like we had something to prove.” In short, this is as focused and vibrant as the 97’s have sounded in years – maybe ever. It was definitely an album worth waiting for, and if Miller or anyone else needs time away to tinker with side projects, it would be wise to allow for such independence. Miller has suggested that “Blame It on Gravity is a celebration of the brotherhood that is our band.” It appears that brotherly bond has never been stronger.