By other members of Black Sabbath...
Scott Colothan
16:11 18th May 2005

 

artists cannibals poets thievesSince Six by Seven inched on to the scene in 1998 with the paranoid, claustrophobic and thoroughly brilliant ‘The Things We Make’, bar some peripheral fervent attention (including ardent support from one John Peel) the Nottingham band have been criminally overlooked by the mainstream press. But, hey, more the pity them really. Over the course of the ensuing three albums-proper plus an outtake album, not much has escaped their musical cannon - from tetchy, angular rock to glorious synth-based pop nuggets to drawn-out prog epics. Despite shedding two members along the way they’ve shown little sign of waning, in fact, with ‘Artists Cannibals Poets Thieves’ they’ve perhaps made their greatest work yet.

Here less than a year after their previous album ‘04’ and with only nine tracks, on the surface the album may seem somewhat premature. Yet, over the forty minutes, there is real depth, soul, passion and a channelled anger to their music. Not searching for unquenchable aspirations, over now trademark Six by Seven keys frontman Chris Olley yearns “All I Really Want From You Is Love”. Human lyrics from an intensely grounded band. Elsewhere, on the stomping, rhythmic ‘Tonight (I Wanna Make It Out)’ as the song gradually progresses Olley teeters nearer to breaking point, sinisterly whispering “I’m a natural born wreck just look into these eyes… yeah I’m chaos baby I’m just a broken machine”. While ‘Stara Paris Rescued Me’ with its almost baggy beats and scuzzed up guitars, underneath the ominous edge somehow offers optimism through the line “Jubilation, celebration, I gotta get some”.

Later, as the title implies ‘Let’s Throw Some Mud At The Wall’ is a pertinent metaphor for disaffection with the world, with the crashing, snarling chorus being nothing short of glorious. And closing track ‘You Know I Feel Alright Now’ sees the band’s sound evolving - perfectly harmonising hushed vocals and clambering electronic beats. However, it’s with ‘Nowhere To Go But Home’ that the album reaches its zenith. Buoyed by a bass line that Peter Hook would frankly sell his testicles to the devil for, a gorgeous synth-based interlude and fiery vocals, this is irrefutably a defining Six by Seven moment.

Intense and completely absorbing, this album certainly won’t (eventually) propel Six By Seven to mainstream audiences, but for anyone looking for music with soul and an edge this is nothing short of a revelation.