Old 97's Blame It On Gravity

Old 97's Blame It On Gravity
After a four-year hiatus that saw solo records by both chief songwriter Rhett Miller and bassist Murry Hammond, an appearance in the Vince Vaughn film The Break-Up and a live record, these Texas troublemakers are back with their usual brand of mischief and in-your-face cow punk, but with a new cosmic twist. The hard-charging "The Fool" kicks off this 13-song, 46-minute rock ride. The catchphrase from this rollicking opener sums up the record: "A hallucinogenic with no hangover at all." The band returned to the Lone Star State to record Blame It On Gravity with long-time friend Salim Nourallah. Hammond contributes a couple of strong tracks, including the pulling at your heart "This Beautiful Thing," which describes a renewal in a relationship with his wife, and "Color of a Lonely Heart is Blue." Other standouts include the Hammond/Miller co-write "My Two Feet," a fun song with a Byrds vibe, the Cramps-inspired "Early Morning" and the garage rock anthem "The Easy Way." With hints of the Ramones, the Kinks and the best of the outlaw country movement of the '70s, this disc demonstrates, despite the band's brief hibernation from the studio, that when these four hombres gather, the music they create is something special.

Blame It On Gravity harkens back to your early recordings. Was this intentional?
The thing we wanted to do this time was not just sound like ourselves but also do some really sonically interesting stuff; it's kind of a Technicolor record. We still have that rootsy vibe but it's also a little psychedelic in places, which is part of our world and the music we all grew up on.

What was it like recording with Salim Nourallah?
It was the first time we worked together. He probably fit better than any other producer we've ever worked with. I wouldn't be surprised if we did the next record with him. At this stage of our lives we are interested in bringing in more of that sonic aspect into our band, but also keeping what is great about our roots side of things. Salim is very sympathetic to this and loves to experiment.

Tell me about "Color of a Lonely Heart is Blue?"
It's a Patsy Cline song that Oasis might try. It's clearly a country tear-jerker but it's done in a way that sounds like something the Gallagher brothers might try to pull off. (New West)