Six By Seven : Paris Trabendo

You owe them your head, your heart and – why not? - all the viscera in between...

Professor Walter Van Hagens’ Body World exhibition is causing quite a stir. The former anatomist’s collection of preserved, [I]”plastinated”[/I] corpses is being hailed by some as an artistic and scientific triumph, a taboo-shattering attempt to force mankind to deal with their own mortality. Then again, it’s also being condemned as the kind of excuse for mainstream necrophilia that Jeffrey Dahmer would have dug.

However, amid all the moral panic, the Church and the squeamish have overlooked a much bloodier spectacle that’s currently on open display. For all those tendons and arteries and bones are a poor match for the flayed passion of [a]Six By Seven[/a].

Watching Chris Olley turn himself inside out during the opening ‘Another Love Song’, listening to the caustic surges of guitar and keyboard, it’s clear this dissection of love, life and rock’n’roll is just as visceral, just as physically precise as Van Hagen’s modern Frankensteining.

Tonight proves that if [a]Six By Seven[/a] are gloriously old-school, as concerned with the emotional impact of rock and roll as they are with sheer, dynamic noise – they’re also startlingly vital. It makes all that music that professes to be about rage and meaning and angst look like a tantrum on a dysfunctional school trip: it makes Emo look as emotional as a hairgrip. ([a]Rival Schools[/a], bizarrely the support band tonight, look as passionate as Blue in comparison.)

As The Strokes are to Pop Idol – a proper, something-for-everything, imagination-catching sign-of-the-times pop band – so [a]Six By Seven[/a] are to the angst-rock hordes. Their grimy patina of experience, innate understanding of noise and acidic delivery mean that the quest for the sound of Guitar Britain really could have stopped with Olley’s bile-spitting rampage through ‘Cafeteria Rats’, the scabrous ‘American Beer’ or the fevered convulsions of ‘Candlelight’. Live – and this is how it seems after the adrenalin-poisoning of the show has subsided, too – there’s arguably not a British band to match them. You owe them your head, your heart and – why not? – all the viscera in between.

Victoria Segal