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CD Review: Old 97's 

The Grand Theatre Vol. 2 (New West)

Old 97's sounded like a rejuvenated band on last year's first Grand Theatre, with frontman Rhett Miller channeling his inner bastard and the rest of the group responding with its most viscerally charged roots rock since the '90s. For The Grand Theatre's second act, they add a spit shine to the leftovers from their original double-album concept. Without departing from the first record's galloping energy, Old 97's fold subtler touches into Vol. 2, expanding lyrical narratives and fine-tuning their garage roots and psych-rock mix: the Rubber Soul-via-Gram Parsons twang of "I'm a Trainwreck," the Dylanesque swagger in "No Simple Machine," and the surf adrenaline fueling "Marquita." No one could blame Old 97's for settling down after almost 20 years, but on both Grand Theatres they're still kicking out the stall doors with youthful abandon. — Brian Baker

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