Most Messed Up
By sticking together while also allowing for solo work, Old 97’s are now the veteran band they always imagined they were. The brunt of the work rests on Rhett Miller, who reportedly wanted to pull no punches and play it hard and raw with no commercial considerations; over the years he’s learned he's no mainstream star. So it’s no surprise when the f-bombs fly throughout the mud-kickin’ “Nashville,” where enough electric slide guitar sends the track to nirvana. “Wasted” takes a similar brutal approach to ensure the opening kvetch “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive” isn’t, well, wasted on a handful of feeble attempts at capturing the glory that was always almost the band's to take. Miller is as hungry as he’s ever been and doesn’t leave room for any fancy stylings or mood pieces. Not even “This Is the Ballad” is a ballad. “Intervention” sounds like the hotel room got trashed before anyone agreed to go anywhere. For the first time in their career, Old 97’s play consistently as the band everyone wanted them to be, as honest heirs to The Replacements (whose Tommy Stinson makes a guest appearance).