Six By Seven: London Highbury Garage

They're one of those unfortunate bands who become more interesting the more cursed they are by bad luck...

Even by their preternaturally bitter standards, 2000 must've been a frustrating year for Six By Seven. When their second album, 'The Closer You Get', was released to almost unanimous acclaim for its seething descriptions of provincial British discontent, it looked set to turn out well for the Nottingham five-piece. But the American onslaught that's dominated the past few months has ensured home-grown rock getting all but forgotten in the melee.

All of which, predictably, leaves Six By Seven more pissed off than ever. "I'll just plaster on a fake smile and plough through this shit one more time," announces Chris Olley, the band's gangling and grumpy guitarist. The way they attack these songs, however - the furious mantra of 'Something Wild', 'Eat Junk Become Junk''s righteous, distorted juddering - proves they're one of those unfortunate bands who become more interesting the more cursed they are by bad luck.

There's a cruel pleasure in seeing how a stuttering career (the Garage, though sold out, is their smallest London show for a couple of years) serves to invigorate already thwarted and twisted men. Guitarist Doggen doesn't appear to be a permanent member of Six By Seven (he's part of the Julian Cope/Spiritualized entourage, as is sax player Ray Dickaty), but he's plainly taken on the band's collective rancour like a veteran.

And as the bruised sarcasm of 'Overnight Success' grinds away and Olley slams his guitar into the stage, the awful truth about Six By Seven solidifies: you don't want them to succeed - not out of indie preciousness, but for their own good. Failure doesn't just become them, it fuels them.

John Mulvey

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