Six Parts Seven
[Everywhere] [And Right Here]
or an album that treads such a precarious dynamic middle ground, it seems odd that it should work best at the extremes of the day: early mornings and late nights. But Six Parts Seven have always operated in this murky middle ground, where meaning is ambiguous—it practically comes with the instrumental band thing, one imagines. But it’s these nighttime and sunrise listens that take on the most resonance, giving narrative structure to the group’s meandering tunes and emphatic exclamations to their more upbeat ones. Which is a long way of saying: context is everything. With instrumental music created by vibes, lapsteel, grand piano and the standard rock set-up though, it truly is.
Luckily, the group excels, as they have done over their past two studio albums and countless live shows. The group interplay is as strong as ever, with Jay Karpinski laying a solid foundation for his brother and Tim Gerak to mold competing and intertwining guitar lines. And while the lapsteel may sound less novel now than it did four years ago, where it once immediately ushered in a sense of poignancy to the proceedings, Ben Vaughn’s playing here is tasteful and refined.
But, all in all, the band’s sound hasn’t changed all that much from either of its first two records. Aside from opener, “What You Love You Must Love Now” which throws everything into the melting pot, sparse and delicate compositions rule the day. It’s certainly not to their detriment. “Saving Words For Making Sense” is probably the best song the band has yet recorded, because it sounds just differently enough to be exciting and just similar enough to be recognizable. But on the near throwaway “The Quick Fire” and the slight nocturne “Nightlong”, the feeling that the group should branch out into uncharted territory more often is palpable.
There is more than enough reflection, placidness, crescendos and release to please any fan familiar with the group’s work thus far. The problem is it won’t do much to win over fans that haven’t heard their sound before. That job was partly done with the compilation released late last year featuring artists doing takes on the band’s songs. Unfortunately, that release sounds far more satisfying than this one.