Hot on the heels of the Mclusky retrospective comes another posthumous release by yet another undervalued British band. Creators of some of the most inspiring slabs of drone rock Six By Seven should have been massive. They faded away with a whimper, when they should have had a final roar strong enough to tear your head off your neck.
Club Sandwich sees the band presenting their final recordings: some demos, some live studio recordings, and some finished work. As such, it is a somewhat hit and miss affair. In fact by the time these songs were recorded, Six By Seven didn’t really exist. The members of the band had drafted in some new musicians to work on a new direction under a different band name. As it turned out, the material ended up sounding like Six By Seven, and so it was released as Club Sandwich…under the Six By Seven Name.
Everything here has the stamp of main man Chris Olley all over it to such a degree that you wonder how long the search for the new direction lasted. Gone is the slightly commercialised version of Six By Seven that could be found on back on 2002’s The Way I Feel Today, and back is the influence of the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Spiritualized.
Many of these songs have their feet firmly placed in the drone camp, not that this is a particularly bad thing. Opening track Intro And Theme Tune takes quite some time to get rolling properly, building up a tense thrash of guitar until the drums take over, pummelling towards the finish line. Opening with a drawn out thrash is a brave way to start an album, but this track really sums up Six By Seven. They were at times the sound of the unstoppable force that you feared one day might meet an immovable object.
Intro And Theme sums that force up nicely as it leads into Got To Find A Way Out Of Here, another lesson in seething build ups and perfectly recorded tension. There are few songs here that really disappoint, the only problem is that too few match the quality of the previous material that Six By Seven fans had come to expect. For example, Do You Believe? is another trawl through insistent riffing, but the production lets it down. You can’t help but wish for a bigger sound that the song evidently deserves.
Still there are plenty of moments of genius that shine through, not least the storming almost punk pace of Don’t Wanna Dance. Then there’s the truly bizarre opening to In My Hell, which sounds like a thrash metal band playing solely on slinky springs instead of guitars. As usual all the best bits are to be found when the band get their heads down and settle into a relentless groove.
Club Sandwich…is not a bad album, but as a final farewell to such a great band, it is only ever going to disappoint.