Saturday, June 28, 2014

SEVEN / 7 (2014)

The roots of the band originally began in South Africa in an outfit called Face To Face. Both Keith McFarlane and Simon LeFevre (and his brother John) had enjoyed considerable success over an eighteen month period, releasing several singles and one album, before dissent in the ranks saw the young band split up. Meanwhile, a young Mick Devine was plying his trade as a drummer in the band UC27. With both McFarlane and the LeFevre brothers returning to the UK, it was decided after several months to put the band back together, but base it in the UK, as Mick Devine explains, “I took a brave leap leaving South Africa, as I hadn't met Simon, John or Keith previously. We were originally based in Woking, but after meeting Mike Parker (our initial Manager – now deceased) at a talent show, we moved to Bournemouth. 

I was initially approached by John to drum with the band, but they thought I was a much better singer than drummer and realised I needed to come out from behind the drums and become the lead singer.”

A quick name change ensued and Seven was born. When John Wolff (The Who, John Parr) joined Parker to co-manage the band, they soon secured a support slot on the first nationwide tour of Brother Beyond. It was from here, via Phil Schofield and a record exec's wife, that things took a turn for the better as Devine recalls, “Having picked up valuable live experience (and a sizeable fan base) on the Brother Beyond tour, we attracted Phillip Schofield's attention who started to play our demo's on radio one. 

Whilst on tour, the head of Polydor's wife and kids came to one of the shows and the story goes that she went home and told her husband that he needed to sign us,” laughs Devine. “That combined with the touring, fans and Phil's plugging, a deal was offered and as a bit of media hype, Philip Schofield was on hand to witness the record deal signing.”

Entering the recording studios, with John Parr at the production helm, they recorded two very strong singles in the shape of “Inside Love” and “Man with A Vision. One of the myths about Seven is that they recorded a full album, but that it was shelved by Polydor after the band were dropped. It's a myth that Devine is quick to dismiss, “We never had an album deal. We were signed for two single releases and we were then dropped. We had more than an albums worth of material, mostly consisting of really good quality demos, having recorded at some great studios including a number of weeks at Rockfield.” 

Fast forward to the present day and bass player, Pat Davey, was working alongside Robert Hart on an Escape Music album when the name Seven cropped up in the conversation. It would seem that Khalil Turk was a big fan, as Devine explains, “Yeah, back in the day Khalil had really loved the band and he got in touch to see if we would be interested in finally releasing an album with the original line-up,” gushes the excited singer. “As we are currently living in different countries (Keith & Simon are in South Africa, Myself, Pat & Oz in the UK), Khalil put us together with Lars Chris (fantastic Swedish Hard rock guitarist and producer) who is producing the tracks from Sweden and then sending tracks to SA & the UK for each of us to add our individual parts. The sound is definitely fresher and harder and more up to date, giving the band, the edge it needed back in the 80's.”

So, what we have here is a well-crafted and classic melodic rock/AOR album that will blow you away with its pure 80's vibe, melodies and amazing tunes. "Inside Love" is the perfect example of classic 80'S AOR sound with powerful keys, amazing vocal lines and a chorus line to die for. "Thru The Night" is a bit edgier while in "Strangers" the brilliant and extremely melodic songs are one after another. In "Still" we are dealing with another killer tune that is gonna make you whistle it for days. Listen also to the stunning and ultra catchy opener tune of "Shoot To Kill" and "America" and the sure thing is that you'll discover a great AOR record. 

Beautiful and melodic "7" comes to find its place beside classic records of the so-called AOR/Melodic Rock scene and stand through the test of time as one of the best records of this particular genre. For the lovers of pure 80's AOR sound this is your album, period! 
Heavy Paradise's Rating : 9/10

1. Shoot To Kill
2. Inside Love
3. Diana
4. Still
5. Headlines
6. Strangers
7. America
8. Thru The Night
9. Never Too Late
10. Don't Break My Heart
11. Say Goodbye 
Mick Devine (lv)
Keith McFarlane (g, v)
Simon LeFevre (k, v)
Pat Davey (b, v)
Austin Lane (d)
Lars Chriss (g, d)
Mike Slamer (g)
Andy Loos (b)
Fredrik Bergh (k)
Adam Wakeman (k)
Mark Mangold (k)
Didge Digital (k)
Tomas Coox (k)
Shuji Matsumoto 
Josh Devine (bv on tr. 2)
Ben Devine (bv on tr. 2)

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