Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blast from the Past: The Music, The Message

Title: The Music, The Message (Amazon)
Artist: 7 Seconds (Official, MySpace, Facebook, Last.fm, Wikipedia)

In 1995 7 Seconds released their first, and only, album on a major label The Music, The Message. This would be the last in what I think of the band’s middle period. They started as a hardcore punk band in Reno, NV in 1980 and continued on that path through numerous 7 inch records, EPs, and three full length albums (well technically at the time it was two since Walk Together, Rock Together was originally released as an EP). The last album of this first period, New Wind, was a transition record that showed the hints of the direction that the band would take for the next ten years.

Following the release of New Wind in 1986, the band released the Praise EP that same year followed by Live! One Plus One in 1987 and Ourselves in 1988. These three releases showed the band heading into a post hardcore/emo type direction and would included the four piece lineup that would eventually settle into their current line up with Kevin Seconds on vocals, Steve Youth on bass, Troy Mowat on bass, and Bobby Adams on guitar. In 1989 the band released Soulforce Revolution as a three piece (Kevin taking on guitar and vocals). The album was much poppier than its predecessors and also reached # 153 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart (a fairly amazing feat for a punk band on an indie label in 1989). 7 Seconds then didn’t release any new material until 1993’s Out the Shizzy which saw the return of Bobby Adams on guitar and a new direction for the band musically. Shizzy had a crunchy, almost metal-like sound, which reminded me a lot of Kevin Seconds’ other band Drop Acid but apparently the music for the album was written without him (he said once in an interview that he had joined the writing process after the music was completed, writing the lyrics for the songs that the rest of the band had completed, and thought that they should maybe release the album under a different name because it was so different from their previous material).

Two years later the band joined a Sony Records imprint, Immortal, and released The Music, The Message, this time back to the three piece lineup. I first found out about the band signing to a major label in a Tim Yohannan column in Maximum RockNRoll. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t disappointed to hear that one of my favorite all-time bands had been signed to a major in the midst of the mid-90s punk explosion, but that didn’t stop me from buying The Music, The Message on both CD and vinyl at the time.

Musically The Music, The Message is a straight forward pop punk/indie rock record not unlike Soulforce Revolution. What really stands out about this record is the energy level. During the previous middle period records the band’s music was good but the energy that had so defined their early release was just not there and The Music, The Message saw a return of said energy and hints to the next era in the bands music (their return to hardcore in 1999 with the Good To Go album). What stands out to me on this record, especially now 15 years later, is the reflective and thoughtful nature to many of the songs. Songs like “My List” are not only catchy but show real emotional growth, while songs like “Punk Rock Teeth” and “I Can Remember” showcase a reflection on the past that can only come from experience. The album (or the CD version at least) also ends with a new cover of Sham 69’s “The Kids are United” (a song the band covered early in their career) in which Troy, Steve, and Kevin share vocal duties.

Many people only follow 7 Seconds hardcore albums (the early ones and the newer ones), often dismissing the band’s middle period of music expansion. I think this is a shame because in many ways these records are just as god and vital as the bands hardcore releases and The Music, The Message is no different. For those who missed it at the time, I do suggest that you give it a listen now and see that this band was/is a lot more than blisteringly fast punk rock.

1 comment:

Best of Blogs Oklahoma said...

Interesting blog! I've included it on a site I've created, which is a compilation of some of the best blogs in the city.