Rhett Miller Rhett Miller

Shiny vocal harmonies and clever rhymes are in plentiful supply on Old 97's front-man Rhett Miller's fourth solo release. But glossy production and bright guitar solos mask a dark undertone on the album, which was heavily influenced by the death of Miller's grandmother and the suicide of his hero, David Foster Wallace. Loneliness and existential angst run through the songs, with lines like "we are all alone in this world, from cradle to grave, and maybe after that" tempering even the peppiest moments. The disc has a few rough spots, most notably the noisy and lyrically awkward "Happy Birthday Don't Die." But from the lively "Like Love" to the harmony-heavy choruses of "I Need To Know Where I Stand" and the sweetly acoustic "Sometimes," which Miller developed from a tune sung by his two-year-old daughter, most of the album delivers the kind of twang-pop fun we've come to expect from Miller, both solo and avec 97's. (Shout! Factory)