7 Seconds

7 Seconds
“Leave A Light On” LP/CD Rise Records
By Rich Cocksedge

Some people may question why a band that has been around for over thirty years and hasn’t release a new album in a decade feels the need to do so now as the individual members of that band all surround the fifty year old mark.  Well, with 7 Seconds the answer is glaringly obvious from the moment “Exceptional” launches the opening salvo – it’s because they can still come up with the goods and do so with ease.

I’ve been a fan of 7 Seconds for many years now and this release has been eagerly anticipated since I heard of its conception.  For those who might not be aware of 7 Seconds then to summarize the band came out of Reno, Nevada in the 1980’s in a 1450352_761164573909272_1158103524_nblaze of unity and positivity, confronting everything from sexism to fair treatment for all and many other issues of the day.  They did lose some of the hardcore sound in the 1990’s as many bands moved away from their roots in varying degrees but at heart 7 Seconds has always been about the hardcore, albeit hardcore with massive doses of melody and even a poppy quality at times.

Move on a number of decades and Leave A Light On delivers fourteen tracks that although clearly built around that hardcore genre manages to display elements that take from the 1990’s sound of the band and blend them into a more easily acceptable sound.  What’s remarkable is how Kevin Seconds’ vocals resemble those of someone half his age as there is no outer sign of any deterioration in his abilities.  In fact, he’s probably at a stage now where he is making the best use of his talent and that shines through right across the album.  The longevity of the band is addressed in the track “30 Years (And Still Going Wrong)” in which Seconds sings ‘It’s kinda funny/but here we are again/surprise surprise friends/I guess we bucked the trend’ showing that through thick and thin 7 Seconds has remained a vital part of punk rock.  The song also contains a couple of excellent moments of harmonizing from the band which I look forward to on every play.

It’s not only the frontman’s input that makes a noticeable impact here as I find myself transfixed by Troy Mowat’s drumming.  A couple of years ago I saw tumblr_n3de57dSy91qffaooo1_500him go through one of the most exacting pre-gig warm ups I’ve ever seen before battering the life out of his kit, and that energy resounds brightly as he keeps up a fair pace from start to finish with a handful of occasions that allow him to slow things down.  Bobby Adams’ guitar is also perfect for this setting, providing a large chunk of the drive that helps propel the band along whilst Steve Youth adds some tantalizing bass lines that really come to the fore on the slower numbers.

To top this all off, the production for what 7 Seconds is doing is perfect.  The kind of hardcore a band is playing will often determine what is needed from a producer/engineer and here Steve Kravac adds a crisp and clear quality that loses none of the impetus that is found in the songs, nor does it add a glossy veneer that means the music lacks a sense of depth.

Content wise the lyrics keep the upbeat quality that has permeated 7 Seconds’ work across the past thirty years or so, and it’s evident that although acknowledging the negative side of life Kevin Seconds still firmly believes that with the right attitude (that being a Positive Mental Attitude) things can work out well or at least for the better.  I find it easy to feel 1794733_858304257528636_1965813543_nuplifted when listening to this record both from the music and the messages contained and really there’s not a lot more to ask of a band at times.  It’s not all just fast paced hardcore as tracks like “Leave A Light On” and “Standing By Yourself” show that even when the foot is taken off the pedal a bit 7 Seconds have the nous to put together a decent punk rock tune.

There are many things that I like about this album including the fact that on the whole you know what you’re going to get and that means flat out enjoyment.  For me this peak is reached thanks to great vocals, both upfront and the harmonies/backing vocals, a great selection of songs ranging from all out thrashers “Upgrade Everything” to the “Leave A Light On” which has more of a rock feel to it at times, and once again Kevin Seconds showing how strong a vocalist with a passionate performance to equal anything else on the album.

If you’re an old fan then this should really do the job in providing you a link to earlier versions of 7 Seconds yet not being a nostalgia trip whilst for anyone new to the band this would be an excellent starting point to jump in and listen to one of the most energetic bunch of old guys you’ll hear in some time.