April 30, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
We gave it an A-

Like Robbie Fulks, Old 97’s jumped off Chicago’s Bloodshot label with a vision more twang-pop than insurgent country. High-strung students of Brothers Everly and Doobie, Crazy Horse and ”Wild Horses,” Tex-Mex and T. Rex, they harness achy-breaky hearts to songs so packed with hooks and wordplay they seem ready to explode. Live they usually do, but in Fight Songs they pace themselves. Choice moment: necking on a street named for the father of the atom bomb. A-

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