Friday, April 04, 2008

Magic Numbers

Apologies for the break in transmission. That thing called life has taken over for a while. But we're back, and here's a welcome return from long term contributor Dave...

Six By Seven – Eat Junk Become Junk
Six By Seven – What's Wrong With Understanding
Six By Seven – All My New Best Friends

I’ve never really liked numbers. Put a page of numerical figures in front of me and a chemical reaction ignites in my brain, resulting in mental narcolepsy. So from a young age I have done all I can to avoid numbers, and still do today. However, one notable exception is with the Nottingham-based band, Six By Seven*.

Ever since their first album, ‘The Things We Make’, was released in 1998, I have readily put aside my numerical differences and embraced their dark and brooding world of finely crafted space-rock - although I did think the track ‘88-92-96’ was taking the piss a little! Since then, a further five studio albums have followed, as well as a couple of compilations of unreleased material. The line-up of the band has fluctuated greatly throughout the years too, with the number of band members ranging from 3 to 5 depending on when and which album you are listening to. It's all a bit too complicated for me to go into who plays what when to be honest with you, and I’m sure this can all be found elsewhere. However, for all the personnel variations, record label changes, side projects and financial and emotional upheavals within the band, the sound, and soul, of Six By Seven remains constant throughout their excellent back catalogue. Each album has an anger and an intensity that I don’t find within the fabric of many other rock bands, and even when their direction takes a softer turn, it manages to do so keeping a dark integrity intact, without resorting to sounding like Embrace. Six By Seven have a reassuring menace about them, like the rumble of a late-night journey on the underground when you are the only passenger in the carriage.

I had planned to go into each album separately, from the angrier rock on ‘The Closer You Get’ and ‘The Way I Feel Today’, to the soaring efforts such as ‘Bochum (Light Up My Life)’ on ‘04’ and the immense ‘What’s Wrong With Understanding’ on the ‘Left Luggage At The Peveril Hotel’ compilation, but I don’t think Joe has enough bandwidth on his server. I wish I could post one song from each album as well, but trying to narrow it down is not an easy task. Numbers you see, always clouding the brain from making concise decisions. Frankly, I think no matter which Six By Seven album you get, you can count on it being quality. But if you want an easy introduction to the band, head straight for 'Any Colour So Long As It’s Black’, the Best Of album, recently released on Saturday Night, featuring some interesting song choices and ace remixes from the likes of Flaming Lips, Bloc Party, Ulrich Schnauss and Two Lone Swordsmen. Oh, and a DVD featuring most of their videos. All for a tenner! You can't go wrong...

*Other notable exceptions include MC5, The Jackson 5, Jurassic 5, Radio 4, Soul Brothers Six, 808 State and Spacemen 3.

Buy 'Any Colour So Long As It’s Black’ from Norman Records
New official website here
Six By Seven MySpace
Buy Six By Seven music here