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Articles Home » 2014 Articles » Seven - 2014 7
Seven - 2014 7

LABEL: Escape Music
YEAR: 2014


LINEUP: Mick Devine - lead vocals * Keith McFarlane - guitars, vocals * Pat Davey- bass, vocals * Simon Lefevre - keyboards, vocals * Austin 'Oz' Lane - drums

Additional Musicians: Lars Chriss - guitars * Mark Mangold, Adam Wakeman, Fredrick Bergh, Didge Digital - keyboards * Tomas Coox - piano, string arrangements * Shuji Matsumoto - fretless bass * Andy Loos - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Shoot To Kill * 02 Inside Love * 03 Diana * 04 Still * 05 Headlines * 06 Strangers * 07 America * 08 Thru The Night * 09 Never Too Late * 10 Don't Break My Heart * 11 Say Goodbye


Escape Music seemed to have pulled off the coup of 2014. That is: signing the South African/British combo called Seven to a brand new album. Of course, if you are the perennial AOR trainspotter, you will recognise the name of this band as far back as 1989/90, when they released a CD single (or was it an EP?) for Polydor called 'Inside Love', plus a second single called 'Man With A Vision', produced by John Parr. 'Inside Love' was megatastic AOR, and we all thought that was it from the band of brothers who looked like the Backstreet Boys doing AOR, but who winked out of the spotlight before anyone had a chance to catch on to the band. Well, twenty five years later, and Seven are breathed new life, and if feedback from around the Net is anything to go by, this could be the AOR album of the year!

The Songs
Some of the GDM regulars have also given this album the thumbs up. And if keeping with my recent Robby Valentine article is anything to go by: then who am I to disagree? lol! Technically, this is Seven's debut album, though old school followers might try and find a connection with their older material, but only 'Inside Love' makes a return visit. The band plus additional guests keeps '7' well and truly in the here and now. Production duties fall to GDM fave Lars Chriss, who Chris (englandashes) has given some coverage in the past. The line-up of keyboardists makes for interesting reading. Adam Wakeman, ex Touch ivory-meister Mark Mangold, Fredrik Bergh and former FM man Didge Digital all appear here. Of the songs, I enjoyed most of it, 'Headlines', 'Strangers', and the accelerated 'Never Too Late' are excellent selections. The reimaged 'Inside Love' didn't quite do it for me this time around, the 1990 version is far superior for mine.

In Summary
I'm probably going to disappoint a few by saying that from my perspective, I couldn't nominate this anywhere close to my top 10 of 2014. It's a solid offering, but nothing more nothing less. A great band for sure, but from my reckoning, they are 25 years too late.

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#1 | Explorer on August 13 2014 16:44:19
Consummate, silky smooth AOR,I'm really enjoying this album which is presently receiving some heavy rotation on my IPod.
#2 | Jez on August 13 2014 19:17:59
Better late than never and like a breath of fresh air, the debut Seven album is finally with us. It's real shame these guys got mixed in with all the dross 'pop music' that was floating around in the late 80's, because with material this strong, they really could have been something and not just another music biz statistic. Most in the know will have heard the excellent 'Inside Love' back in the day (it also featured on David A. Saylors rather splendid 'City Of Angels' disc a while back) and it's nice to see it standing proud here too, alongside a very fine set of material of equal merit. 11 tracks, 40 minutes, absolutely no waste. It's sweet AOR all the way of course, with a fine mix of tasty guitars and keys (courtesy of some very nice special guests along the way, even the mighty Didge from FM pops up).Production is fresh and crisp and brings the best out of the instrumentation, without it sounding too 80's and dated and it does sound fantastic. Brilliant stuff and the years best AOR disc by some way
#3 | jeffrey343 on August 14 2014 04:49:06
I've been wondering how George would rate this one. I expected higher, honestly. To me, it will easily be one of the top albums of a very strong year. It reminds me of a Survivor or Foreigner album from years ago - an album that could have two or maybe three radio hits as well as a host of songs that are just as strong. I would peg "Shoot To Kill", "Inside Love", and "Still" as the most likely to have been hits. I read a review somewhere that said "Don't Break My Heart" sounds like it should have been a female-fronted track, and that's made me think it sounds a lot like a Heart song. The two slower tunes "Diana" and "Say Goodbye" don't work as well for me as the other ones do ( something about the vocals in "Diana" ), but they're hardly bad songs. Someone who's not a fan of the genre could use the "samey" label as the album heads towards the end. But I have really enjoyed this album, and it is another winner for 2014.
#4 | george_the_jack on September 01 2014 09:32:23
To me, this is one of the albums of the year and a future AOR classic for sure! It only falls second in my boook for 2014 behind the excellent Sonic Station release. Well done guys!
#5 | george_the_jack on April 02 2017 13:11:58
I still enjoy this very much 3 years later and insist on my initial thoughts that it's going to grow as one of the classics of the genre in the years to come - if it hasn't already.

My personal favorite (aside Inside Love of course) is ''America'' but I don't see a single weak moment throughout the album, except perhaps ''Say Goodbye'' which is not weak in my book by any means but just pales in comparison to the rest of excellent songs in here. Strangely enough, that one even features a guitar solo by the unparalleled Mike Slamer.

''7'''s production steers clear from anything produced the past couple of decades and directly refers to the 80's. It's like it came out of a time-machine really. It is polished and well-rounded but not over-polished like those ultra digital and glass-like production patterns of today. It still sounds organic, musical and instant to the listener.

I recall in the early days of Youtube, there was a guy from Belgium (I think) who had uploaded a video with the 7-inch vinyl single of ''Inside Love''spinning and playing on their record player while asking the community to identify the artist/rarity. Whether they knew the actual artist or not, I don't know. There was no sticker on that vinyl at all. What I know is there were dozens of youtubers of the then growing melodic rock internet community that were hooked to this beauty, me included. Eventually, someone showed up who knew the band, the song and story behind them.

Fast forward a few years later, I couldn't believe a band like Seven who I had considered a ''one-hit-wonder'' would put out such an excellent album.
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