We've certainly met Rhett Miller's muse before standing by the jukebox of our favorite Friday night dive, she's easily mistaken for Matthew Sweet's girlfriend or the trashy kid sister of Jesse's girl. But Miller's record on themes of "love, war and death" is presented in precisely that order; "her," "she" and sometimes "you" rarely powders her nose during the 13 songs, and she comes to life in a collection of power pop every bit as well-polished, oversexed and slightly over-the-top as the music itself. Fans of Miller's previous work with the Old 97s will find familiar pleasures in the record's best tracks tunes that are a little more country and a little less rock 'n' roll including should-be hit "Singular Girl" and a last-dance duet with Rachel Yamagata, "Fireflies." When his rhymes get a bit chintzy and his "sha la la las" a little sappy (a fact underscored by George Drakoulias' high-gloss production) Miller's forgivable. Even though we've heard a million singers whine for a million hers to "get out there on the dance floor," when it's said just right, it's impossible not to want to get out there too. The war and death? Those are just details.
Nate Cavalieri writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.