Despite being signed to Victory Records and having several press photos aimed at the new "emo" teens, 1997 play highly enjoyable pop music without any of the sass or jaded affectations of the current darlings of that genre.
"A Better View of the Rising Moon", 97's debut album, bears a notable resemblance to labelmates Straylight Run. Each song employs very tasteful male-female vocal combination, and showcase the young band's talent for a brand of pop that doesn't require hooks to keep people listening.
Early on, tracks like "Garden of Evil" and "In Your Car" set the pace for the rest of the songs to come. However, they might set the pace too well. It seems that there isn't enough structural diversity in the songs to support the albums nearly 50 minute running time. "Tennessee Song" proves that they can eschew the path that Jimmy Eat World beat out, and is a jaunty Neko Case-ian offering that provides a much needed differentiation from the rest of the pack. The album's closer, "Curse or Cure", is maybe the most enjoyable track on "the Rising Moon". It begins as just soothing vocals over harp and piano before
exploding out to the full band.
1997 clearly have talent and direction to their song, but many of those songs are not memorable enough to stand out over the course of the album and simply start to seem like time fillers. However, as a jumping off point, "A Better View of the Rising Moon" seems to suggest a band that has a bright future ahead.