It was in our top 20 albums list for 2002. But due to an undefined cock-up, this didn't get reviewed on DiS when it came out. This was foolish because this was one of the best records released last year. Forget top 20; I put it as my #1. It's less than a year since this record was released, and it's already a classic. It already stands as a longterm statement of intent.
There were the usual murmurs from the dissenters; it wasn't as good as the previous two albums, it sounded the same as their other stuff. Etc. It didn't actually. It's their best record by miles. I listened to the first album recently and it's nothing compared to 'The Way I Feel Today'. The second album is good but never made me feel like this. It has all the hallmarks we've come to expect from Six By Seven - it's gloomy, majestic, loud, bitter, and generally very unhappy. But it pulsates with something else, something that many bands lose before they even get their first record out, and something that, if it was there, they really never expressed properly on previous attempts; it's seething hunger, and trembling hatred, and violent discontent and fury. 'Flypaper For Freaks' is constructed from the same raw material as The One That Everyone Knows, 'Eat Junk Become Junk', but it's so much more potent; a spitting, contemptuous ode to those that Chris Olley despises [going by this record alone, it would seem there are many].
Whereas the previous two albums suffered from a somnambulist lack of variety, Six By Seven went for the jugular with 'The Way I Feel Today'. After lulling you into a premature smile with 'IOU Love', echoing The Cure in all their ghostly glory, they inject an unhealthy dose of loudangrypunknoisedieyoufuckers attitude into the rest of the record. 'Cafeteria Rats' sees Olley sneering his way through a series of anecdotes of, yes, more people that he despises - "I know a New York designer who lives in LA, he is bored, he is crap, he is a fucking disgrace", he barks, sounding uncannily like Mark E Smith. Even the slower, more typically 6x7 songs grab you by the eyeballs with an rusty iron grip - none more so than the eviscerating, mercilessly and unsmilingly compelling 'American Beer'. Bleeding ennui and defiance, it does for the first time what Six By Seven have never previously managed to achieve; it reproduces the commanding, pummelling impact of their live shows, and rams it through your cowering eardrums in the privacy of your bedroom, with no-one to pick you up off the floor. Olley's caustic vocals leap between deceptively self-contained, wry political commentary and one line, "nobody told me it'd be like this" screamed relentlessly; one unfeasibly thunderous bassline reverberates in response, obliterating what little sense of hearing their live shows have left you.
And the rest is history. Kinda. Perhaps they jinxed themselves, opening the record with lines like "So close to being more than I've ever been". After they released this record, their record company put fuck all money into promoting it, they got dropped, lost their bass player, and we're still waiting to see what happens next. They seem like the least commercially viable thing around right now, but they've never been more necessary. Next to the leather-clad, dollar-eyed, spiritually castrated hopefuls lined up outside every Shoreditch drinkery clutching guitars they've never played, sounding ever more like Crashland with every subsequent incarnation of themselves, Six By Seven are conspicuous in their intensity, and their refusal to compromise. They've never sounded better and more confident than they do on this record; if they have the ability to progress this far again in the coming months, then they owe it to us and to themselves to do it.
10Gen Williams's Score