Six By Seven
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Mantra Recordings' 5th Birthday celebrations brings the return of Nottingham's Six By Seven, not exactly a 'party band' but a curious event nonetheless, with this being only the band's second gig proper of 2001 and the anticipation almost exasperating.
Since the departure of guitarist Sam Hempton, lost to the charms of Matthew Jay and co, Six By Seven have been a oddly limper proposition. Drafting in a Spiritualzied guitarist helped for a few gigs, but his recall to Pierce's camp brought interest in how Six By Seven would line-up in the future. In has come a rather attractive blonde female, standing quite uncomfortably behind her synth. Bassist has become second guitarist, and the rest remains the same.
Vocalist Chris Olley, a towering menace of a character leads his band on stage and tears into new track 'So Close'. I'd been informed that the new sound was fiercer, more rauccous vocally and a dam sight louder. This first track showed little signs, instead a melodic and enchanting tune was delivered. Olley has lost none of his 'charm' as he growls and stares with those piercing eyes into the fairly rammed Scala.
'European Me' followed, but unfortunately without Hempton's lead lines, it was lost in a flurry of distorted synth bass and overt feedback. Unfortunate but the intensity has not been lost with Six By Seven. Agressive and confident.
Thankfully they don't choose to swamp us with the new material, and we are treated to the likes of 'Oh Dear, Another Love Song and 'Candlelight' which have all lost none of their raw angst and beauty.
The new material that followed seemed to follow a similar thread - shouty, moody and yes, all the more intense. If you favoured the harsher moments on latter album 'The Closer You Get', you'll be awfully fond of the follow up. However, being a firm fan of the debut album, this work just loses Six By Seven's original appeal.
With two encores which encorporated b-side 'Sleep' and climaxing on 'Overnight Success, it is mixed views that leave The Scala. Yes, Six By Seven seem to be well and truly back, but will it be for the better? The next couple of releases will certainly answer that.
Happy Birthday Mantra, let's hope Six By Seven's new material hasn't spoilt the party.
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