You make your fans wait almost ten years for new material, when it drops it better come out of the gate swinging. And for a band who’s been around since the year The Empire Strikes Back was in theatres, that’s a hell of a lot of history you’re adding to. The expectation can sit pretty high and the pressure can run deep. But there’s nothing about hardcore legends 7 Seconds that worry me on that front. Yeah their records sound a little more polished, a little more poppy than they did three decades ago. But growth is part of life and evolution is the manner of the species. If every record 7 Seconds released still sounded like The Crew, I might venture that it’s time to hang up the hat for the Nevada foursome.
No, the way to do it is the way that 7 Seconds has been doing it all along (albeit with a few bumps and missteps along the way): sounding consistently fresh while remaining true to your original sound. After 35 years, that can’t be easy in some respects, but this band has a knack for making it look easy. And their long awaited new record Leave A Light On is evidence of that.
The fury and energy of Leave A Light’s kickoff track ‘Exceptional’ does not sound like the product of a band made up of four guys in their 50’s (that’s like 87 in punk years). It sounds like some upstart new Fat Wreck Chords band of kids who are barely old enough to be in the clubs they’re playing (Fat Wreck actually has a 7 Seconds clone in Pour Habit). But there’s a wisdom there beyond the capacity of a peach fuzz wearing little snot who wasn’t even alive at the same time as Kurt Cobain. The equally Ritalin deprived pace of ‘Upgrade Everything’ is a fine example of this. A song which is either a call to betterment, or a rumination on the way Apple is turning us all into a horde of mindless consumer zombies, or both.
A couple of songs who’s messages are not in the least cryptic or in question are ‘Slogan On A Shirt’ and ‘I Have Faith In You’. Two rallying cries of pure positive energy concerning unity within the scene. Both have timeless messages and contain suitably anthemic gang vocal’d chorus’. ‘Your Hate Mentality’ and ‘Someday, Some Way’ are also acutely positive messages put to what is by now the classic 7 Seconds sound.
’30 Years (and Still Going Wrong)’ and the rollicking ‘Simple or Absolute’ are reminiscences on a long career and three decades of influence. With the former finding Kevin Seconds sounding particularly amused the band has made it this far and the latter finding him reassuring everyone that he’s lost none of the passion he had in those first years on the scene.
Leave A Light On is sure to please the many fans that this legendary band has collected over the years. I don’t personally find it quite as strong overall as their last effort Take It Back, Take It On, Take It Over! I also think it runs a little long. A strange complaint perhaps for a band you’re lucky to get a record out of every 8-10 years, but after 14 songs, the watercolours start to run together in the last third of the setlist.
It’s a strong and impressive record overall though and a welcome return from one of the most influential bands in the history of hardcore punk. https://www.facebook.com/official7seconds