Monday, 12 August 2013

REVIEW: Six By Seven - Love And Peace And Sympathy (Borrowed Tune Motion Pictures)

If you remember Nottingham’s late 90’s rock heroes Six By Seven (or officially six. by seven), chances are you won’t have heard anything from them in a long time. However they haven’t been out of action for as long as what many would think: their previous album was released in 2007, and two years ago in 2011, a drummer-less version of the band emerged as ‘The Death Of Six By Seven’. This project eventually led to the rebirth of the group, whose line-up now includes ex-Placebo man Steve Hewitt. ‘Love And Peace And Sympathy’ is a stellar way to return, and easily a contender for the rock album of the year. 

Opener ‘Closer’ sets the tone brilliantly as it builds from a lingering guitar figure into a roar of powerful tension, while the graceful chime of the wonderful ‘Sympathy’ lets in the light and demonstrates how good they are with a melody. The snarling almost-9 minute epic ‘Truce’ is a fine representation of this album, slowly unfurling itself and growing more intense with each passing minute before exploding into a fierce, heavy tantrum towards the end. Like much of the LP, it’s a top class exercise in building tension, knowing when to hold back, and knowing when to let the beast loose. Of the 9 tracks ‘More’ is a snappier, upbeat and more concise slice of rock, determined and full of vigour, while the hypnotic repetition of ‘Standing In The Light’’s intertwining guitar and bass, along with its slow expansion make for a fine 7 minute centrepiece.

Taking another break from angsty noise and swirling reverb, the brighter ‘The Rise And Fall And Decline Of Everything’ takes a more relaxed, positive approach on the surface, yet is still underpinned by a reflective poignancy, represented nicely by the gorgeous guitars at around the 3 minute mark. The slow burning power of ‘Colder’ brings to mind the band’s early work while exploring more emotive avenues, with lyrics addressing life’s disappointments, a theme that reoccurs throughout ‘Love And Peace And Sympathy’. Elsewhere the uplifting ‘Crying’ provides another highlight that shows the likes of Feeder and Kings Of Leon how to pull off a huge-sounding rock anthem, while the grungy, menacing highlight ‘Fall Into Your Arms’ almost comes across like a cross between My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Only Hollow’ and Stiltskin’s ‘Inside’ but undoubtedly has its very own commanding strength, emerging slow and mighty. As an album closer, it perfectly sums up the mood of this phoenix from the flames-style resurrection: often brooding, sometimes graceful, at other times truly brutal.

It’s a record that reminds you that if there was any justice in the world, these guys would have gone on to be massive. But they are not done yet. Far from it. This LP sees them revitalised and raging with a defiant energy, and marks one of the most welcome returns of recent times. 4/5

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