With roots in South Africa and the UK, Seven was an obscure AOR band active from 1989 to 1990 in the latter country. They were signed to Polydor Records for two singles, delivering Inside Love and Man With a Vision, both produced by John Parr. Neither song had much success, so the band floundered and eventually broke up. (For more history check the Wikipedia entry.)
While obscure and passing, Seven was not without fans, including Escape Music founder Khalil Turk. It seems that the band had recorded a sufficient amount of songs, demos, for a full album, even though they didn't have an album contract. Turk tossed these songs to noted Swedish guitarist and producer Lars Chriss for revitalization in cooperation with the original members. The result is 7, the band's first album in 25 years.
Basically, it's late Eighties AOR deja vu all over again. Curiously, the only single from 1990 that made the cut was Inside Love, but Strangers, a b-side tune made it. This was likely done keep the majority of material as new material. Listening to some, not all of the songs, it's easy to understand why the band was fighting for success. With the plethora of AOR bands hitting the airwaves, Seven probably sounded like just another one, and another one that was fighting against the rising tide of grunge. Shoot to Kill, Diana, and Say Goodbye, while hitting all the right genre buttons, are largely generic.
Alternatively, other songs have some real hard rock energy, perhaps thanks to an infusion of modern studio wizardry and liveliness from Lars Chriss. Headlines, the aforementioned Strangers, America, Thru The Night, and Never Too Late, in the heart of the album, resonate with a large, lush, sound from the synth layer and some terrific fiery leads. (Perhaps the latter is from Chriss as well.)
Though Seven's music fell on deaf ears back in the day, wrong time, wrong place, and such, there's no reason that it can't catch on today. The traditional AOR melodic rock genre may be underground, but it still has a large following across the UK and Europe. This in turn makes me hope that this album will not be simply another one-off project from another forgotten, yet promising, band. Recommended.
With 7, obscure and largely forgotten UK AOR band Seven finds their music resurrected to new life, with promising results and hopefully a better reception than in the past.
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