1997 - On the Run
Record Label: Victory Records
Release Date: May 27, 2008
1997 was one of those bands that many people mentioned, but yet I failed to investigate for myself. They've got a fairly large fanbase, but at the same time have remained fairly obscure. With On The Run, 1997 shows that they have what it takes to pull in fans from almost any end of today's spectrum of genres.
Pulling in influences everywhere from indie to pop and country, they've created a very solid and dynamic album. Each song will take you for a different ride; some are almost pop, and some contain a more indie-esque feel. In whichever type you choose, it's not uncommon to hear a harmonica helping the music along. While they may not be the first to include this uncommon instrument, I thoroughly enjoy deviations from the standard instrumentation of contemporary bands. Giving them a more country twinge, the harmonica adds a more homely and intimate feel to many of their songs.
All of 1997's (3) vocalists are above average. While you may hear more of one of the male vocalists than the other, they're well balanced with female vocals. Some of predominantly male ("Winds Of Change"), while some are mainly female ("I Will Always Find You"). In any instance, they're nearly flawless. The songs that have a mix of male and female vocals come off best since their voices compliment one another's rather well. A particularly noticeable instance of this is in "4 A.M. Conversation" where the song is constructed as a kind of conversation between the both of them; the verses and chorus have them refuting each other's lines in a kind of argument. As with this song, the lyrics throughout the whole album remain intelligent and charming. For example, in "January 19th," are the lines: "You've got my hands to hold/ you've got my arms when the world gets too cold/ wherever in life you want to go/ you've got my hands." Maybe they are a little tacky, but that doesn't stop them from being undeniably heartwarming.
While I'm not versed in 1997's earlier work, after hearing this album it's something I'll surely look into. If you're a fan of indie, pop, or anything between, this album is definitely worth checking out. Easy on the ears, as well as the heart, On The Run is an unforgettable and masterfully crafted album.