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TOO FAR TO CAREStreet Release Date:
If the Waco Brothers sound like the Clash playing country music, an Old '97s song like "Barrier Reef" sounds like Rancid doing the Wacos. That's not a bad thing, but lead singer Rhett Miller is more distinctive pining for his gal on the sweetly beautiful "Salome" and "Streets of Where I'm From," a jazzy number about living in a place where romance ends as roadkill. The band--Miller, lead guitarist Ken Bethea, bassist Murry Hammond, drummer Phillip Peeples--sounds most like a rock outfit on the album-opening "Time Bomb," and most like a country crew on "West Texas Teardrops," featuring banjo and Hammond's nasal twang.
On at least half his songs, Miller reveals himself to be a guy who falls in love easily but takes getting dumped hard. The subject matter might get old, but the '97s vary things enough musically to steer clear of trouble. If the story of a guy scared to death of Manhattan on "Broadway" is too obvious, Miller easily redeems himself on the album's closer, "Four Leaf Clover." Sung as a duet with Exene Cervenka, it sounds like X riding a Bo Diddley beat, but the bitter lyrics send it to the moon. "I got a four-leaf clover, but it ain't done me a single lick of good/I'm still a drunk and I'm still a loser/And I'm still living in a lousy neighborhood." After all the crying he's done, it's nice to hear Miller get good and pissed. --Keith Moerer