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Old 97’s: Most Messed Up

US roots-rockers toast their 20th anniversary.

Dallas quartet Old 97’s have been at it for over two decades now, fortified by an unswerving belief in the restorative power of rock‘n’roll and an appetite for self-destruction that seems to know few limits.

It’s all laid out on opening track Longer Than You’ve Been Alive, in which singer Rhett Miller recalls oceans of booze and mountains of weed during their time criss-crossing the States and Europe, where the open road is really the only place to be. These are tales both celebratory and cautionary, delivered with the kind of vigour that would make most bands wilt.

And while Lets Get Drunk & Get It On might suggest that Old 97’s are little more than a beery good-time band, the songs are deceptive, displaying a rare sense of craft and erudition.