published: 13 /
"Unrelenting combination of raw emotion, noise and imaginative song writing", and possible breakthrough third album from "uncompromising indie-rock outsiders" Six by Seven
Nottingham, situated in the East Midlands, has been home for the lace trade for several centuries now and is a city famed for its beautiful women - many of whom came over from Scandinavia to work in it's numerous lace factories. No such subtleties or similarities though with uncompromising indie-rock outsiders Six By Seven, who have an altogether darker beauty about them. Like contemporary noise'n'melody merchants Seafood, Six By Seven have garnered plenty of critical acclaim but have not managed to break into the bigger echelons their intelligent music so richly deserves. Surely things are set to change with their latest offering.
'The Way I Feel Today" is the bands third LP in total, but their first as a four piece since founder member Sam Hempton decided to call it a day. Their sound hasn't suffered as a consequence, and in fact has perhaps benefited, with the gaps left by the loss of a second guitarist giving space for organist James Flower to manoeuvre into. While it clocks in at a mere 40 minutes - fairly brief by today's standards - 'The Way I Feel Today' is as vital and honest a record you'll hear this year. It's an album stripped bare of unnecessary studio overproduction and bombast and driven along on an unrelenting combination of raw emotion, noise and imaginative song writing.
The album opens with the two singles to be culled from the album so far. The fantastically broody and powerful 'So Close' with its doom-laden piano intro and wall of overdriven guitars is a brutal pop gem, lightened only by Chris Olley's vocal. Current single 'IOU Love' is the albums lightest moment with its beautifully purring organ hook and rising chorus line. Will it chart and bring the success they richly deserve? Probably not. 'IOU Love' is far too crammed full of melody and originality to chart in this world of dire manufactured pop. The acoustic strum of 'All My New Best Friends' could easily be candidate for single number three. One, up to this part, could be forgiven for thinking Six By Seven have gone all softly-softly on us.
But hang on, they've been lulling us into a false sense of security. Here comes 'Fly Paper for Freaks', a full frontal two-minute sonic assault of angst and bile about misunderstanding and misconceptions. Two seconds later and then we're into the tense amphetamine rush of 'Speed is In, Speed is Out', a song so manic you can feel it rushing to its ultimate end. While the slightly disappointing 'Karen O' gets a little bit lost in it's distorted guitars and as a consequence fails to go anywhere in particular, 'American Beer' with its melancholic hook line 'Nobody Told Me It Would Be Like This' quickly gets the album back on track.
'Anyway' mines the same rich vein of intelligent agit-guitar pop that That Petrol Emotion tapped in the 1980's, without getting the recognition they deserved. The title track has a naggingly familiar ring to it - and is crescendo of swirling keyboards, scuzzy Mary-Chain guitars and reflective lyrics. The gloriously titled 'Cafeteria Rats' is one of albums finest moments with is caustic, relentless riff steam-rollering everything and everyone (especially L.A. Designers and London careeries) in it's path. When Olley sings "I've Been a Bad Man" on the LP's final cut, reeling off the reasons as he tries to purge himself you know that this is for real.
Forget the manufactured garage rock of The Hives, the fake retro NY cool of The Strokes. No middle-class American parents paid for Six By Seven's rat-infested practice room. There is no need to look any further. Your new favourite band is already here.
All My New Best Friends
Flypaper For Freaks
Speed Is In Speed Is Out
The Way I Feel Today