Old 97’s return with their 11th studio album and it finds them in fine form. From the opening frantic rattle and strum of ‘I Don’t Wanna Die In This Town’ they blast out the cobwebs and immediately re-establish their credentials as one of the pre-eminent alt-country bands – in the same echelon as The Jayhawks, Wilco and Drive-By Truckers.
What sticks out on this album is their meshing of melody with the rock ’n’ roll and twang guitars and solid rhythm section. It’s simple music delivered with spirit and verve and the way the lyrics dance and dive over and through the music makes the album as hook-laden as it is driven. They continuously elevate their choruses into barroom sing-alongs with rousing and celebratory moments galore.
Graveyard Whistling explores the well-trodden country music territory of bad girls, whiskey, troubled souls and wistful nostalgia but they invest the songs with just the right blend of rock, honky-tonk and country – with a punk swagger, that makes the album a delight from start to finish.