Six By Seven
After blasting out of the gates with their excellent debut album The Things We Make, the group followed it up a couple years later with the much more abrasive The Closer You Get, a downright blistering album of gritty guitars tracks and grimy drums. lead guitarist Sam Hempton left the band because of creative differences somewhere between the release of that album, and this, their newest, but other than this release taking a bit more mellow road, there really isn't much of a noticible difference in terms of overall sound.
If anything, The Way I Feel Today is actually the most lush and vibrant album by the group thusfar. They indulge in a much more wide variety of sounds, yet still aren't afraid to rock out at moments. With several tracks that are much more commercial sounding than anything they've ever done before, they also standing a chance of making a bigger splash in terms of grabbing more attention.
The disc opens with "So Close," and after a nice rich piano lead-in and fragile vocals by Chris Olley, a wall of guitars and keyboards come crashing down and morphs the track into a multi-layered sonic assault. The second track on the disc is probably the most curious for several reasons, one of which is that it sounds almost note-for-note like a popular track from a different group from nearly 15 years ago. "I.O.U. Love" sounds almost completely like "Under The Milky Way" by The Church, and although it's a good track, I also can't believe that nobody else seems to have mentioned this fact (at least, in the nearly 10 reviews that I've read for the album). The vocals, keyboards, and guitars are so blatantly similar that it throws me a bit off everytime I hear it, wondering whether there was a gentlemen's handshake behind the similarities, or whether it's simply odd luck.
At any rate, the album goes to extremes from there, as the group takes on a pretty ballad with "All My New Best Friends" before getting back to rough and tumble mode with "Flypaper For Freaks." Clocking in at just over 2 minutes, Olley spits out vocals as the guitars scream and a heavy rhythm track anchors everything. "Speed Is In, Speed Is Out" keeps up the pace, rollicking along with another fast tempo and tense verses before letting loose on the chorus. Although there are a couple weaker tracks on the latter part of the disc ("Karen O" meanders all over without really doing much while the album-titled track "The Way I Feel Today" doesn't manage to catch much of the infectious energy of other tracks).
The group also has several great tracks before closing things out, and "American Beer" mixes a programmed beat in with swirling keyboards as the track slowly adds more and more layers before closing out with a huge stadium-style sound. The last two tracks on the disc again find them getting back to their dirty sound, as "Cafeteria Rats" lurches along before "Bad Man" puts a punchy end to things. While the group definitely branches out a bit in terms of their sound (with hit-or-miss results), the release finds them at their near-best in regards to songwriting. While they're not always as somber sounding as contemporaries like Elbow and the Doves, Six By Seven definitely deserves to get mentioned in the same breath.