Six by Seven: Love and Peace and Sympathy (Borrowed Tune Motion Pictures)

Epic drone rockers impressive return

Released Jul 8th, 2013 via Borrowed Tune Motion Pictures / By Richard Lewis
Six by Seven: Love and Peace and Sympathy (Borrowed Tune Motion Pictures) 2013, the year of the comeback? Bit of a pejorative term that, summoning up images of dusting off the hits and hopefully raking in a few quid touring the festivals without bothering to release any new material (No names mentioned). The year of the return maybe?

As David Bowie, My Bloody Valentine and Suede have all proved, blasting back with uniformly excellent new albums after years spent away, lame retreads clearly do not have to be the end result of burying the hatchet.

Joining the aforementioned with a new LP that pushes their sound forwards while simultaneously reminding you how good they were in the first place are Six by Seven. Appearing in 1998, the Nottingham band were a cult success but ultimately never crossed over, their compelling slabs of drone rock completely at odds with the prevailing post-Britpop mood.

Returning re-energised with band leader Chris Olley in reliably misanthropic mood and former Placebo tub-thumper Steve Hewitt now behind the kit, Love and Peace and Sympathy, the group's seventh album has a feeling of vitality and renewed purpose coursing through it's veins.

Positioning themselves somewhere between Neil Young style classic rock played at ear bleeding volume and the hypnagogic motifs of Krautrock, the group's template is revived with the time away only serving to sharpen their skills, the nine tracks present all exacting exercises in hold and release.

Opening with the metronomic ‘Change’ built around a tick-tocking guitar figure and Hammond organ wash, the three minute mark is passed allowing the tension to build before breaking cover as the drums finally kick in.

Indicative of the LP as a whole, Love and Peace... sees Six by Seven aiming for the slow burn as opposed to the immediate hit of punk blasts like ‘Sawn Off Metallica T-Shirt’ and ‘Flypaper for Freaks’. Diversions into straight-up indie rock territory a la Doves on the bracing rush of ‘Crying’ meanwhile demonstrate the distance the band are capable of covering.

Demonstrating that the group have lost none of their ability to craft sonic leviathans, ‘Truce’, third almost edges into double figures, a panoramic vista of sound that calls Spiritualized to mind. Hinging on the hookline, ‘You were proud and I was waiting/To call this thing a truce’ the song upturns itself midway through, shape-shifting into a furious rolling boil piloted by Hewitt’s deft sticksmanship.

‘More’ that follows, a brief, spiteful missive points up the band’s concise approach, while ‘Standing in the Light’, led by a union guitar/bass riff that unwinds hypnotically throughout its duration shows off the group’s maximal/minimalist tendencies. By complete contrast the nagging guitar figure of ‘The Rise and Fall and Decline of Everything’, one of the poppiest moments here has the brevity of classic R.E.M.

Following the swirling, prog-inflected ‘Colder’, the bracing rush of the anthemic ‘Crying’ one of the most thrilling cuts present surges into view, the track understandably selected as the LPs lead single.

Edgy sign-off ‘Fall Into Your Arms’, breaking into an MBV worthy guitar squall mid way through harks back to the delicious tension found in the likes of ‘A Beautiful Shape’ from the band’s The Things We Make debut, the cut concluding its' stay with a barrage of white noise.

An audacious, typically monumental return that will doubtless sound colossal live, Love and Peace and Sympathy should deservedly win the quintet scores of new converts. Welcome back.