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707 - 1981 2nd Album



ARTIST: 707
ALBUM: 2nd Album
LABEL: Casablanca
SERIAL: NBLP 7248
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1998, Renaissance, RMED00195 (2 on 1 with '707') * 2017, Rock Candy Records, CANDY332

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Kevin Russell - guitars, vocals * Phil Bryant - bass, vocals * Jim McClarty - drums

Guests: Andy Celley - keyboards * Cherie Currie - backing vocals ('Rockin' Is Easy') * Reed Kalling - backing vocals ('City Life')

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tonites' Your Nite * 02 Millionaire * 03 Live With The Girl * 04 Strings Around My Heart * 05 Pressure Rise * 06 Rockin' Is Easy * 07 City Life * 08 Live Without Her * 09 Love On The Run * 10 The Party's Over

WEBLINKS: www.kevinrussell.com


Background
The single 'I Could Be Good For You' had been a minor hit, hovering around the fringes of the billboard top 40, though paradoxically the debut album had failed to chart. With Duke McFadden's subsequent departure from the band there was a modification in the band's approach for the follow up, the unimaginatively titled 'The second album'.


The Songs
Keyboardist Duke McFadden had been a pervasive influence on the debut, contributing to the majority of the songs. When the second album was recorded the band had streamlined down to a three-piece and straight ahead AOR ensued as a result. Most of the songs weigh in around 4 minutes and this time there was no room for sprawling orchestrated epics like 'Whole Lot Better'. Producer Jai Winding (Le Roux) managed to bring out the best in the band, in particular guitarist Kevin Russell was given ample opportunity to demonstrate his prowess on the guitar. Whilst keyboards are ever present in the band's sound they colour rather than dominate proceedings as had been case previously. For the second album 707 had decided that it should be a little less pomp and a lot more guitar. There's a definite Journey influence to the opening strains of upbeat rocker 'Tonite's Your Night', 'Millionaire' on the other hand is heavy hitting, built around a stuttering guitar riff and underpinned by Jim McClarty's rock solid drumbeat. The lyrics regale the everyday struggles of a musician aiming a broadside at the rich who sit in their ivory towers e.g. 'Give me credit where credit is due I still breathe the same air as you' and 'I get by on just minimum pay do you think you've got money to throw away?'. 'Live With The Girl' is very radio friendly with smooth harmonies embellished by Kevin Russell's razor sharp guitar and synthesizer solo in the mid-section. The single 'Strings Around My Heart' is superb hard edged pomp with chiming keyboards and yet more six string pyrotechnics from Kevin Russell. The adrenalin charged 'Pressure Rise' bursts from the speakers with intent and closes side one with a flurry of guitar notes.

My favourite cut and side two opener 'Rockin' Is Easy' (Don't cha just love the title?) is the perfect antidote to the angst of modern life. e.g. 'Some folks live their lives, but never enjoy it' and 'waste their money keeping up with the Joneses'.. 'all I wanna say is rockin' is easy'. The 707 philosophy is no nonsense and straight-forward and one that all middle-aged men should be prepared to embrace in order to help them cope with marital and parental responsibilities - perhaps then we would see divorce lawyers put out of business? I ought to add that this is not my personal opinion or that of anyone affiliated to the G-Daze site, just in case any lawyers are reading this.. 'City Life' maintains the upbeat tone, whereas 'Live Without Her' is suitably melodramatic and would not have been out of place on the debut. Up tempo rocker 'Love On The Run' is about life on the road, which skilfully manages to side-step the usual lyrical cliches. The quality dips slightly for album closer 'The Party's Over' a sub-boogie romp that is salvaged from mediocrity by Kevin Russell's six string antics.


In Summary
Whilst lacking the overblown pomposity of the debut, this is a hugely enjoyable album chock full of memorable hard rockin' tunes which I return to on a regular basis. However it would appear my opinion is at odds to those posted elsewhere on the internet, where incredibly 'The second album' has been described 'as lacks some of energy and spirit of the group's self-titled debut as the band delves into a more synthesized sound' - go figure?!!


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Comments
#1 | AOR Lee on January 31 2014 04:52:26
I interviewed Kevin Russell way back, and he was quite critical of Jai Winding's production as well as record company interference on this album. My take is that the album cover didn't do it any favours, very bland compared to the debut and Megaforce. I still think it's a great album with plenty of memorable tracks, your review pretty much nailed it down. A good read as usual
#2 | super80boy on April 20 2014 21:36:34
This was a good transition album into a more straight up AOR melodic rock album. With exception of the closing track 'The Partys Over', there are plenty of first rate songs to lock on to.
#3 | rostoned on April 07 2017 19:47:55
In the liner notes of the Rock Candy reissue, Dave Reynolds states that the single released (for radio stations/airplay I guess)off this LP was 'Strings Around My Heart'. It is quite odd tho', since no physical copies of this single (or any single from this LP) exist at all around on ebay, discogs, musicstack....hmm!
 
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