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1997 - Since My House Burned Down I Now Own a Better... Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 7
Lyrics 6.25
Production 6.25
Creativity 7.25
Lasting Value 6.5
Reviewer Tilt 7
Final Verdict: 69%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.44
Musicianship 9.25
Lyrics 9.25
Production 9
Creativity 9.44
Lasting Value 9.25
Reviewer Tilt 7.13
Average: 90%
Inside AP.net

1997 - Since My House Burned Down I Now Own a Better...

Reviewed by: Julia Conny (06/03/07)
1997A Better View of the Rising Moon
Record Label: Victory Records
Release Date: April 17th, 2007


Midwest indie rock, new and old, is a priceless avenue. With a slight alt-country handle and swarming, echoing guitars, there is something in those Midwest get-ups that strike me as more poignant and touching than other movements. Maybe that’s just my interpretation, but it’s a delicate division, nonetheless, without the riches of commercial appeal. The Midwest has always been relatively safe from bigger markets in comparison to, say, New Jersey angst-emo or sunny West Coast pop-punk. Timeless energies and influences stake their claim in Midwest indie rock, and Chicago’s 1997 partake in this general sound. Yet, something is off-beam. Too user-friendly, too glazed, and too cute, A Better View of the Rising Moon doesn’t linger like its colleagues. I don’t know if I can categorize A Better View as a Midwest indie release anymore, except as, maybe, a marketable version of one.

Opening with “Water’s Edge,” A Better View begins guitar-vicious with endearing strings and keys. It’s one of the better tracks (and probably the best) on the album. The double vocals between Kerri Mack and Kevin Thomas is a handsome latticework. The song leads with a pop-worthy tune and hook, but by immediately recalling similarities to another Victory release, Late Night Conversations by The Forecast, the Midwest influence bestows a necessary backbone onto “Water’s Edge.” The same goes for the rest of A Better View, but it’s just not as effective or as tightly-fitted as the first four minutes.

Between Mack and Thomas and an abundance of instruments (including the mandolin, banjo, harmonica, cello, keys, ukulele and handclap), the rest of the album unfolds in great proportions of harmonies and layers. Naturally, this would create a lush and saturated mash, right? Well, not really. Not when the basics – guitar, bass, and drums – don’t embrace a higher level of finesse. After all the extras, these three bottom-feeders just groove along in the background. There is little rock left in the strums and crashes of songs like “In Your Car” and “Patience, Prudence.” The production doesn’t help to relish the axe either, and only by luck do the riffs on “Enough Is Enough” get guitarist Caleb Pepp out of hiding. If there is one thing that I chalk up to the Midwest indie jingle, it’s the prestige of a special riff – something that bands like Hey Mercedes, The Anniversary, and The Forecast always keep in sight. A Better View doesn’t have this, and while Mack and Thomas are a good pair, it’s hard to be convinced when the crucial breadwinner (Pepp) mopes in the corner.

1997 does, on the other hand, have a fine sense of good pop and bad pop. Most of A Better View is good pop. “Lovelikepoetry” is dense with sweetness and it’s follower, “Tennessee Song” is an acoustic charmer. The harmonica is often out of place and most of the choruses need some sprucing up, but between the alt-country impression and precious melodies, A Better View is a step above most of its pop contemporaries. “Droppin’ Dimes” and “Curse or Cure,” the last two tracks, are solid on hooks and a last and valiant attempt at a comeback. It isn’t enough get me raving for all of A Better View, but I get it. I get it because I want to pinch cheeks and be adorable along with 1997. Unfortunately, I’m too caught up in my Midwest collection to make a prospect out of A Better View.

RIYLThe Anniversary, The Forecast, Straylight Run
Standout Tracks“Water’s Edge,” “Droppin’ Dimes” and “Curse or Cure.”
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 28
07:51 PM on 06/03/07
#2
xxno_promisesxx
I read more maps than books
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I got the latest Victory compilation cd and 2 tracks from 1997 are on it. Out of the two tracks "Waters Edge" is my fave also. I have not decided if I am into 1997 though... Maybe I should listen to a couple more songs.......
10:07 PM on 06/03/07
#3
Chris Fallon
Boom.
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You know I love your reviews, so we won't even go into that, hahaha

The record ain't perfect, but it has some really catchy tunes on it. Not quite as good as The Forecast, but similar sounding and as nearly as good.
11:18 PM on 06/03/07
#4
Blake Solomon
Leave a one-way note.
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there are parts of this album i really dig and parts that leave me scratching my head so hard I forget what I'm doing.
09:32 AM on 06/04/07
#5
CLARIFY THIS
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Brilliant review, well done.

I really enjoy this album
11:59 AM on 06/04/07
#6
tm decomposer
KEMBA WALKER 4 PREZ!!
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Amazing review.

on the album:

i can't get through for some reason. Maybe because it seems boring? I don't know. I'll give it another chance but yeah
03:20 PM on 06/04/07
#7
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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I got the latest Victory compilation cd and 2 tracks from 1997 are on it. Out of the two tracks "Waters Edge" is my fave also. I have not decided if I am into 1997 though... Maybe I should listen to a couple more songs.......

Definitely worth a go. Who knows, maybe you'll love them.

You know I love your reviews, so we won't even go into that, hahaha

The record ain't perfect, but it has some really catchy tunes on it. Not quite as good as The Forecast, but similar sounding and as nearly as good.

I am such a huge fan of The Forecast so I think that's why it was a bit harder for me to listen to that album and not have that in the back of my mind.

there are parts of this album i really dig and parts that leave me scratching my head so hard I forget what I'm doing.

Hah, I know what you mean.
03:22 PM on 06/04/07
#8
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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Brilliant review, well done.

I really enjoy this album

Thanks!

Amazing review.

on the album:

i can't get through for some reason. Maybe because it seems boring? I don't know. I'll give it another chance but yeah

It's weird. I thought I really liked it at first. But once I gave it an actual sit-down listen, I changed my mind for the most part. On the surface, there are some good and appealing things.
05:08 PM on 06/04/07
#9
tm decomposer
KEMBA WALKER 4 PREZ!!
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[quote=

It's weird. I thought I really liked it at first. But once I gave it an actual sit-down listen, I changed my mind for the most part. On the surface, there are some good and appealing things.[/quote]

yeah i know. Its not one of those bands victory would sign.
06:50 PM on 06/04/07
tm decomposer
KEMBA WALKER 4 PREZ!!
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I gave this a full listen today. It wasn't as bad as I thought. However, the mixing of Harmonic in "The Roads You Can Take" ruined the song. This album probably will grow on me in the summer, but for now.. Its just a good release.
10:21 AM on 06/05/07
TheDynamic
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Snaps for being right on about Midwest rock =] Great review.
11:03 AM on 06/05/07
xdrummerxdudex
i am a legend
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carolinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnaaaahhh


trouble boy i'll kiss you ONE LAST TIME before i say goodbye



wow i love water's edge
11:08 AM on 06/05/07
ThankQ4DVenom
graphic & web designer
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droppin dimes is the BEST song on the CD
02:52 PM on 06/05/07
weworemasks
save the drama for wilmer valderama
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i didn't like this record at all, but this is an excellent review, once again. good work.

edit: and i like that you included "handclap" in the instruments, hahaha.
04:18 PM on 06/05/07
Sandie-Jenkins
Ignore the chiodos SN, this is old.
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i hear straylight run more then anything in their sound

they are such nice people and i really enjoy there different approach and lyrics.
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