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1997- Notes From Underground Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.25
Production 7.75
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 7.75
Reviewer Tilt 8.25
Final Verdict: 81%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.15
Musicianship 8.1
Lyrics 7
Production 8.3
Creativity 7.45
Lasting Value 7.45
Reviewer Tilt 7.4
Average: 77%
Inside AP.net

1997- Notes From Underground

Reviewed by: npmshah (11/11/09)
1997 – Notes From Underground
Record Label: Victory
Release Date: October 13, 2009

When I first came across 1997 on AP’s weekly band listing, I requested their album only because they were a vaguely familiar name and were signed to a label whose artists I respect: Victory Records. Upon receiving the album and looking at the band members, the dual singer listing made me write this band off as a pop act in the vein of The Morning Of. I popped it into my boombox with the expectation of summery pop-punk and was completely shocked by the sounds that came out. With Notes From Underground, 1997 has crafted a piece of indie pop magic: quirkier than Tegan And Sara, more dissonant than Death Cab For Cutie, yet as somber and beautiful as any of the above has been.

The album softly starts off with “#1.”The song has both male and female vocal taking turns singing over harmonized “ahhs” and handclaps. It is clear that lead singer Kevin Thomas is channeling In Defense Of The Genre-era Max Bemis here, as this sparse intro gives way to Thomas proclaiming “I want to be clean again” in a fashion reminiscent of “The Church Channel.” The skilled guitar work, subtle bass work, and off-kilter drums help round out this song as a solid piece of indie pop.

“Hold Ur Breath,” unfortunately, doesn’t build upon the momentum. It is more in the vein of a western song and is too long. Its only saving grace is the performance of female vocalist, Arthi Meera. “Symphony for the Dead” follows the mediocre “Hold Ur Breath.” This song is much better and features the most dissonance out of any song on this record. The song goes from folksy rock to dissonance (with Thomas approaching one small notch below full blown The Devil Wears Prada-esque screaming) and back more than once during the course of this song.

Up next is the near-perfect “Falling Down.” Soft guitar plucking, a twinkling piano, and Thomas’ soft rasping start out the song as it slowly builds its layers with haunting harmonies before exploding with an amazing vocal part from Meera. The song ends with beautiful harmonization from Thomas and Meera.

“Wolf & Sheep” features an off-kilter time signature, an almost arena-ready guitar part, and subtle bass work. “#2” is surprisingly very good for an interlude track. Its sparse, dissonant beginning becomes layered with guitar strumming to form an outstanding piece of music. The album then immediately launches into its second half with “A Fruitless Year,” which features average vocal work from Thomas, but outstanding support from Meera. Though the song contains shades of stereotypical emo (“The real world is just one more pill you must swallow”), it also carries the theme of hope (“Weather the weather no matter the storm”). “A Fearless Heart” stands out only because of Meera’s vocals.

The next two tracks are absolute delights. “Candle” features a nice male vocal/guitar overlay with an amazing male/female harmony, while “Pagan Melodies” begins with skillful guitar work under a breathy Thomas and showcases an amazing control of dynamics when the rest of the band comes in. The album ends with Meera’s solo song, “#3.” Though the song is musically average, it works well with Meera’s voice. The gang vocals and harmonica at the end serve as a fitting closer to the album.

Overall, this is an excellent album. Stellar performances from each band member keeps the music interesting. I will be keeping my eye on 1997 from now on because this album shows them as a band with a lot of potential.

Choice Cuts“Falling Down,” “Pagan Melodies,” “Candle,” “A Fruitless Year.”


Recommended if You Like Say Anything-meets-Tegan And Sara, a less sugary version of The Morning Of-meets-The Hush Sound


http://www.myspace.com/nineteenninetyseven

TRACKLISTING1. #1
2. Hold Ur Breath
3. Symphony For The Living
4. Falling Down
5. Wolf & Sheep
6. #2
7. A Fruitless Year
8. A Fearless Heart
9. Candle
10. Pagan Melodies
11. #3
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 22.
11:12 AM on 11/26/09
#2
aradiantsunrise
i'm not as dumb as i am
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Such a great album. This band really deserves more attention. What I'm wondering the most is if they can actually hold onto Meera for the next album and break that curse of having a different female vocalist for every album that they hsve released so far.
08:03 AM on 11/27/09
#3
npmshah
Our Love Is Like A Song
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Such a great album. This band really deserves more attention. What I'm wondering the most is if they can actually hold onto Meera for the next album and break that curse of having a different female vocalist for every album that they hsve released so far.
the band got alot of attention with the last album, but lost it when the last female vocalist left. I listened to the other two albums, and i like Meera's voice the most of the three. I hope she stays.
12:15 PM on 11/29/09
#4
Chris Collum
No dumbass dove in my dumbass brain
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I bet the book it is named for is still better.
09:29 PM on 11/29/09
#5
zubinmoosa
Tonight I'm Burning Star IV
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solid review. Still haven't checked this out, but I dig this band quite a bit
10:11 PM on 11/29/09
#6
DandonTRJ
~~~ヾ(^∇^
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This is at the top of my to-check-out list. I discovered them with On The Run and dug what I heard, then went back to the first album and loved it as well. These guys are stellar songwriters, and I love how they pull from so many off-shoots of rock to get their sound. Also love the fact that I've never picked up a trace of auto-tune in the main guy's voice. That's what gave so many songs from On The Run such a raw, passionate feel to them. This band should definitely be bigger than they are. I hope they get there soon.
10:31 PM on 11/29/09
#7
andthetruthwill
You keep company with wolves.
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This album is top notch. Their best yet, and pretty incredible.
10:31 PM on 11/29/09
#8
Iwudstilldie4u
UCSD's AP.net liaison
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Quote:
When I first came across 1997 on AP’s weekly band listing, I requested their album only because they were a vaguely familiar name and were signed to a label whose artists I respect: Victory Records.
This made me lol

Good review. I prefer the old stuff.
10:41 PM on 11/29/09
#9
Ryzenfall
makin' good time
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I might come back to this band. I only heard a few from their debut and remember liking it.
10:57 PM on 11/29/09
killeveryone
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thats calebs voice in fruitless year not kevins
11:25 PM on 11/29/09
chels7monster
Wildcard bitches.
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i believe the song is called "Sympathy for the Living" not "Dead." The first album still stands out in my mind as the best of the three but Notes comes close despite some misses. Hope they keep it together long enough to make more music.
04:30 AM on 11/30/09
DoubleAW
The Next Horizon / Eugene
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i believe the song is called "Sympathy for the Living" not "Dead." The first album still stands out in my mind as the best of the three but Notes comes close despite some misses. Hope they keep it together long enough to make more music.

That, pretty much.
05:32 AM on 11/30/09
jco3
Oh, hello there, internet.
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I've always liked this bands sound. I gotsta check this album out again.

I enjoyed listening to the free victory stream, now it's time to pick this sucker up.

Also, this review was too... wordy.
05:37 AM on 11/30/09
npmshah
Our Love Is Like A Song
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This made me lol

Good review. I prefer the old stuff.
ADTR, Silverstein, The Audition...
i havent heard the old stuff yet. Theyre on my computer begging for a listen though
05:38 AM on 11/30/09
npmshah
Our Love Is Like A Song
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I've always liked this bands sound. I gotsta check this album out again.

I enjoyed listening to the free victory stream, now it's time to pick this sucker up.

Also, this review was too... wordy.
sorry. I enjoyed this album so much, i felt such a detailed review was necessary. Most of my reviews are NOT this verbose
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