It’s been a little more than a year since I first spoke about a pop-punk band from Chicago called 1997. They were one of the few bands I was introduced to that I admitted I liked even though I have grown tired of the pop-punk scene. Within a year of being with Victory Records the band had survived a certain hardship many bands simply can not get through but 1997 somehow managed to pull through it and put forth On The Run, the band’s sophomore release.
A lot of things can happen in a year and this is no exception to the sextet group of friends as they made a tough change. One of their own decided to split ways for personal reasons just after their debut album was released and suddenly the band was without an important female vocalist. Perhaps it was a sign of good fortune or just pure luck but the band quickly found a replacement singer who promptly fit in.
1997 continued supporting their debut release and toured non-stop with many nights slept in their van. Touring coast to coast with other Victory artists such as Aiden may have not been the most luxurious of tours for 1997, but it paid off as the band was able to share their music with new fans. Their persistent attitude paid off with decent album sales and the sense of gratification making the band want to record a follow-up.
The band hit the studio in January to record its follow up but this time with a new vocalist. The pop-punk feel still is present and at times grows stronger but this time is mixed with folk sounds making for a notable listen. It appears that the long year that 1997 experienced really helped stimulate this release.
“One Track Mind, Four Track Hear” starts out very pop-punky and emo-ish but soon is transformed to more of a mellow passionate approach as soon as newest addition Alinda Marroni introduces her vocals.
Folksy “Sunset Beyond Black Clouds” had a nice tone throughout with the harmonica and piano. The song just felt more mature and previous tracks and was one of my choice songs on the CD. “4am Conversation” was bittersweet with quarrelling vocals between Alinda Marroni and Kevin Thomas. “January 19th” really reminded me a lot of Taking Back Sunday at times because of the singing style, but otherwise was a little boring for my likes.
“I Will Always Find You” really showcases Alinda Marroni’s vocals and proves that she was the perfect replacement for the band. “Zechariah's Song” was a catchy track full of different musical styles keeping your mind running.
A sequel to a song “Tennessee Song Part II” had me wondering why the hell they would do such a thing as title a song from a previous album but I admit I liked the song a lot. The harmonica really added a nice touch to the all acoustic continuation from 1997’s first release. Although the song was short lived as I just did not want it to end when it did, it was one of the best tracks on the CD.
"On The Run" closes out the CD with a soft acoustic folk-like track that just gives me another reason to like this band. The harmonica and faint sounding keyboards just added more feeling to the soft singing of letting go.
This CD really proved that 1997 has developed in just one year. It sounds like Straylight Run in a sense but they go in their own direction. Perhaps it was the introduction to a new member helped increase their musical abilities and change up their sound. Whatever it was, I don’t see them as so much of a pop-punk act but more of a growing indie rock band that is not going anywhere anytime soon.
If you like good-natured genuine music with vocals from both genders complementing one another then On The Run is something you need to experience. The sounds they incorporate range from catchy pop-punk rock to beautiful folk really make for a good listen regardless of your age.