Old 97's

Most Messed Up (ATO)

Texas Platters

Old 97's

Most Messed Up (ATO)

Rhett Miller exhales prior to jumping into the raison d'etre for Most Messed Up, opener "Longer Than You've Been Alive." In that breath, one can almost hear his Dallas fab four's double decade of recording. Then he leaps into the song's tumbling verses, underlined by, "We've been doing this longer than you've been alive/ Twenty good years, what about 25?" This 10th studio disc splays a far cry from both volumes of 2010/11 opus The Grand Theatre, because past its christening Dylanesque by way of Todd Snider – Miller echoing Tom Petty's hard consonants – it's all lyrically downhill across party anthems ("Wasted"), fuck songs ("Let's Get Drunk & Get It On"), drug shrugs ("The Disconnect") and antidotes ("Intervention"), plus a token "This Is the Ballad." Sixties pop licks and fills embellish upstrokes destined for upped rpms live ("Nashville"), but the best riff turns on acoustic strummer "Wheels Off."

**.5

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