Six By Seven : The Way I Feel Today

Third and best yet from Nottingham noiseniks...

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. 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 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.

Kitty Empire