Old 97's

Fight Songs

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Texas troubadours Old 97's moved farther away from their traditional C&W sound on their 1999 release, Fight Songs, instead incorporating warmly distorted guitars and crunchy rhythms into their brash pop songs. Thankfully for fans of the band, the terrific songwriting is still there, but the sound is a little more polished than the twang-a-billy bombast of their previous album, Too Far to Care. The heavy grit of the lead track, "Jagged," is augmented by Rhett Miller and Murray Hammond's bright vocals, whereas the rhumba stylings of "What We Talk About" slinks along like two strangers locked in a tango. Songs seem more thoroughly constructed this time around, relying less on pure bravado and more on structure. That works well for the most part, but there's something lacking that was unrelenting and instantly likable in their previous release. That being said, Fight Songs is still a bright and worthwhile album with as many strong songs as any of their releases.

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