Six By Seven – The Closer You Get

Six By Seven
The Closer You Get

This was one of those albums that grew on me with every listen. At first, I somewhat dismissed it as typical guitar-heavy, attitude-heavy British rock, taking cues from the Clash and Sex Pistols. And while that’s true, I’ve come to appreciate the band’s foray into electronic sounds, and I’ve also come to appreciate the originality of the songs here. These songs rock, and they do it well, with hooks and power.
Six By Seven at times sound retro and at times sound very modern, which is an interesting mix. This band, which is creating quite a buzz in the UK, manages to incorporate driving rock, something popular British music has been lacking in lately, with some synthesized beats, loops and slight samples. But the rock takes center stage here, and it’s laid on with an urgency that is infectious.
The album starts with a more traditional British rock song, “Eat Junk Become Junk,” a very bitter and biting track that really piles on the driving guitars and blaring drums along with singer Chris Olley’s empassioned vocals, just slightly electronically distorted. “I got style and I’m misunderstood,” Olley sings on the fast and frenzied “Sawn Off Metallica T-Shirt.” Up till now, these songs could have been done a few years ago and are fun but not entirely unique. It’s when the softer “Ten Places to Die” kicks in that you know this band is unique. With some very subtle electronic beats and synthesized effects underlaying the rock, you get an interesting effect, and Olley’s high-pitched, plaintive voice is a nice touch here. And “New Year” is a bittersweat, almost desperate song, softer but carrying layers of guitar and featuring the line, “And how can I lose if I refuse to fail?” And “One Easy Ship Away” is practically a ballad, a nice change-up, with some subtle loops of electronic warbles in the background. “My Life Is an Accident” starts slower and builds behind driving waves of guitar ala My Bloody Valentine. But don’t forget the band knows how to rock fast and loud, as shown on “Don’t Wanna Stop” and “Slab Square.” At times, they even have a Make-Up feel, with just hints of groove to their rock. “Another Love Song” is one of the most unique tracks, making full use of the electronic beats and samples and coming across fresh and catchy. And the album finishes with a more poppy, softer “100 & Something Foxhall Road,” which has the feeling of a sweeter love song.
Ok, so first listen didn’t sway me. But I listened a few more times and grasped the electronic underlayings that merged effortlessly with the band’s straight-ahead rock. I was intrigued by the mix of fast, all-out rock songs and more subtle, introspective songs. Olley’s voice, which runs from high and scraping to low and urgent, won me over. And the lyrics, often bitter and angst-filled, are impressive. All in all, this band is much more than I gave them credit for, and I just can’t stop listening to it. Chalk them up as one of my favorite rock bands from the UK.