I was very pleased to learn that Nottingham’s finest Six.By Seven had reformed in 2012, albeit with only Chris Olley and keyboardist James Flower from the band’s original line-up, and augmented (among others) with ex-Placebo drummer Steve Hewitt. But, I guess what I wasn’t (perhaps) quite expecting was for the band to produce such a stonking comeback album in 2013 as Love And Peace And Sympathy. OK, the band’s overall approach i.e. slow-build, with haunting melody and increasingly sonic power, hasn’t changed, but the collection of songs here is, for me at least, second only to 2000’s The Closer You Get.
It’s an album (historically, for me, like most Six.By Seven songs) that is a slow-burner and it would be easy to dismiss many of the songs here (Change, Sympathy, Truce, Standing In The Light, Fall Into Your Arms) with their 'mid-tempo’ pacing as sounding too 'samey’ to really work. But, once Olley’s mood-pieces, melodies and rather poetic (and apparently quite personal) lyrics get to work they reveal something that is increasingly intoxicating (with Truce almost reaching the heights of, for me the band’s greatest song, This Is Not A Love Song). And, although the album is likely to succeed (or otherwise) on the perceived strength of the aforementioned songs (as they make up the majority of the album), the remaining songs show the band do retain an impressive degree of versatility. The Rise And Fall And Decline Of Everything is shot through with Olley’s own (apparently) pessimistic take on superficiality, but shows the man can write as good a straight ‘indie song’ as anyone, Colder, from an amazingly innocuous beginning displays a level of intensity not heard by these ears since the likes of 'Closer’s’ My Life Is An Accident, whilst Crying is simply the band at their most succinct and powerful best.
An album that comes highly recommended – stick with it!