By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
These days, it's nearly impossible not to see, hear or read about Old 97's.
Rhett Miller and crew have just released Blame It on Gravity, supposedly a return to form while bassist Murry Hammond's solo debut turned out to be a very pleasant surprise, an acoustic, country gospel record full of sin and salvation. Now along comes I Love Math, a Deathray Davies spinoff that features 97's drummer Phillip Peeples.
Granted, Peeples involvement here is a tad more than peripheral as Deathray frontman John Dufilho is running the show. But Peeples does contribute to I Love Math's overall ambience, and it's the mood that makes the band's second effort such a pleasant listen. Filled with Dufilho's hushed vocals, songs such as "Some Bridges Are for Burning" and "Only Clowns Are Scary " are fleshed out by bassist Jason Garner (The Paper Chase) and keyboardist Andy Lester (Slider Pines), not to mention Peeples' clockwork precision.
While Getting to the Point has definite alt-country leanings, Dufilho wisely steers these proceedings toward the oft-kilter, cinematic pop of John Vanderslice and Paul Brill. Filled with simple, catchy melodies that get all gussied up without succumbing to the pretense of each participant's inherent skill, I Love Math is one spinoff that might warrant full-time status.