1997 – On The Run

Band: 1997
Album: On The Run
Genre: Indie Pop/Folk
Label: Victory

1. One Track Mind, Four Track Heart
2. Dancing With The Devil
3. Sunset Beyond Black Clouds
4. 4 a.m. Conversations
5. January 19th
6. I Will Always Find You
7. Winds of Change
8. Zechariah’s Song
9. A Dream of Form In Days of Thought
10. Tennessee Song Pt. 2
11. On The Run

1997 have come to one of the biggest drop off points for any band in the music industry: the sophomore release. Since their last album, A Better View…, made waves in the indie world in early 2007, these young musicians have udnergone members changes [there is a new female] and a lot of musical maturity. They now return just over one year since their last album with On The Run, a beautiful follow up that not only shows signs of maturity as a band, but sets 1997 on a path for mainstream success.

On The Run opens with, “One Track Mind, Four Track Heart,” a well crafted folk track that serves as the albums lead single. 1997’s ring leader and vocalist Caleb Pepp takes sole vocal lead on this one and from the minute his voice comes in you know he’s gone through some changes of his own. His vocals are stronger and more passionate than before and it’s all a wecomed change of pace. “Sunset Beyond Black Clouds,” finds the band incorporating a harmonica and strings for accompaniment for a tale of lost love that is carried by Pepp’s heart wrenching vocals. It sounds a little dumb to say, but you actually get a feeling of hurt in his voice and that sells what would normally be a filler track. 1997 treads farther into a rock sound witht he track, “4 A.M.,” which showcases new female vocalist Alida Marroni a bit more than previous tracks. Her voice is more airy than that of the prior female, but I think it’s a stronger match for Caleb. The song resonates like a piano soaked b-side from The Forecast and I lapped up every single second of it. It’s at this point the album takes a turn for the worse for a bit, with, “January 19th,” and, “I Will Always Find You,” feeling like forced attempts to tug at our heart strings. Marroni will surely draw comparisons to Michelle Nolan here, but it’s definitely not her at her best moments. These tracks are simply 1997 exploring some more ideas, but not quite finding the footing the more upbeat, indie tracks give them. Thankfully, all is well by the time the aptly titled, “Winds of Change,” rolls in with a folk rock jam that even includes, sure to be fan favorite gang vocals. Pepp’s self deprecating, heart on his sleeve song writing has never shone as much as it does here and you can’t help, but take in every note. If that’s not enough, the band and the songwriting are truly perfected with what I consider the band’s best song to date, “Zechariah’s Song,” which has a Dylan/Springsteen vibe mashed with early Straylight Run. There’s nothing standing out alone here, but rather everything fits so perfectly together that you just get entranced with each line. IT’s a true gem that shines over the next two tracks which feel like have filler to that track and then we come across the next great song, which also happens to be the closer. “On The Run,” is a shows Pepp taking a more than obvious page from the Bright Eyes songbook to tell a tale about living a life that makes you destined to spend your days on the road and even though you dont want to be alone, you can’t stay in one place for long. It may sound cliche, but it’s the perfect ending to an album already filled with moments of great brilliance.

If there first album was the jolt of life folk pop needed, this album will push the genre into the mainstream. Pepp and the rest of 1997 have crafted a an album filled with brilliant moments that lays a star lined future out for the band. Their first album, to me, was a lot and miss, but with On The Run, 1997 find their footing and are now dashing towards becoming the next big thing in music. If you like Bright Eyes, Straylight Run, Bob Dylan, and even Bruce Springsteen, don’t walk, run out to buy this….now.

*Written By: James Shotwell*
GRADE: 8.5/10

James Shotwell
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One Response to “1997 – On The Run”

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