March 8, 2002
Six By Seven : The Way I Feel Today
Third and best yet from Nottingham noiseniks...
7 / 10
Now that Lostprophets and their ilk have taken over Britain like an
outbreak of sonic foot and mouth, it's getting harder to remember a
time when anger and guitars did not inevitably add up to nu-metal
in this country. Vitriol, sulkiness, fear, loathing: these vital
forces of rock'n'roll are being gradually replaced by pre-packed
blasts of teen pique, expressible only by standard-issue imported
riffs. Happily, the language is being kept alive nowadays in dark
pockets of the kingdom by a new generation of unruly bands like The
Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster[/url]. And, of course, by the guardians
of the flame, Nottingham margin-walkers Six By Seven.
While in America, the likes of And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of
Dead[/url] are resurrecting Sonic Youth's noise-rock, their UK peers, Six By Seven,
are one of the few bands left wearing scruffy clothes and howling the
blood red blues. 'The Way I Feel Today' is Six By Seven's third (and best)
album, but the passage of the years has not mellowed them. Nor has it
tempted them away from their heroically unfashionable formula.
Rather, it's made these inveterate haters hate all the harder. We find
tempestuous frontman Chris Olley "half-insane and paranoid" on 'The Way I Feel',
the album's magnificent centerpiece, railing against ego and vanity on
'Cafeteria Rats', and in the throes of some spectacular self-loathing on
'Bad Man'. The guitars, too, could burn holes through the CD case: now
drenched in reverb thick as steam, soon barrelling fearsomely towards some
messy end on tracks like 'Flypaper For Freaks'.
Chris Olley loves as intensely as he hates, though. So a tender moment
comes with 'IOU Love', their recent single; the poppiest tune they've
yet produced, but still infused with Six By Seven's heady unease. And
on 'All My New Best Friends' - which apes the epic strums and strings
of big soppy indie, if not its sentimentality - they even appear to be
tentatively playing with previously forbidden toys.
These aside, the innovations are few. Some of the surging feels a little
directionless at times: 'American Beer' is, yes, cathartic and relentless,
but quite lugubrious too. Still, when there are so many fake sounds of
progress to be fought, these are compelling battle cries.
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