CMJ

Six Going on Seven
Heartbreak's Got Backbeat
Some

Six Going On Seven has chosen a perfectly appropriate title for its second album. Heartbreak's Got Backbeat is a tidy summation of this Boston trio's music, which is comprised of sensitive, everyday observations uttered over moody rock. Midtempo, hypnotic bass lines and steady drumming set up a cool, thick atmosphere, conducive to James Bransford's immaculate guitar lines, which shine against the thudding rhythm section. Josh English's vocal control is also impressive, his warm, clean voice ebbing and flowing perfectly and dripping with sincerity. "New/Improved!," Six Going On Seven's would-be theme song, is a good point of entry -- the track rocks the hardest and defines the band's intentions.

- Kelso Jacks: CMJ New Music Report Issue: 612 - Apr 05, 1999


 
PITCHFORK MEDIA

Six Going on Seven
Heartbreak's Got Backbeat
Some
Rating: 7.4

The first time I heard Six Going on Seven's debut album, Self-Made Mess, it seemed kinda average. It featured the screamy, scratchy vocals of Josh English who seemed clearly inspired by Bivouac- era Jawbreaker. Then, the album's sixth track, "Deadpan Cool," entered my aural canals with the lyrics, "Hey, girl, don't you go back on your word/ 'Cause a dialtone is the last thing I heard." I was a goner. Had the damn thing stuck in my head for two weeks straight, and pretty soon whenever I played the album, I was reduced to flailing around in my seat like an autistic monkey on speed. Understandably, this caused some awkward moments in my workplace, but I didn't care-- the rock was moving me.

At any rate, Self-Made Mess was a truly inspiring thing. Filled with more neck- snapping hooks than anything since Fugazi's 13 Songs and more smart lyrics since the aforementioned Jawbreaker's heyday, the album revealed this Boston trio as a force to truly be reckoned with. After all, how can you argue with songs with choruses like, "The whole thing snowballed starting with a kiss/ Sexy like the titanic/ And I'm in love with a sinking ship"?

My first glimpse of the band's new album was a single called "Reverse Midas" that a good friend played for me. But somehow, the band seemed more poppy-- kinda reminiscent of Jawbreaker after they signed to Geffen and everybody hollered about them selling out (despite the fact that they had just released the best album of their career). Naturally, I didn't think about that until later-- it's not like I sit around critiquing shit all the time.

But, yeah, this time around, there's less screaming, slightly slower tempos, and not quite as much stuff that makes me want to jump around like a monkey on speed. Still, Heartbreak's Got Backbeat is a damn fine album. Its first track, "Portsmouth," is one that "alternative" radio programmers would instantly recognize as a surefire hit single if they didn't have their heads permanently crammed up their collective anal cavities. Sporting the killer chorus, "I need some kind of backup plan to kill this time left on my hands/ And consume the sound of you not there," and repeated references to childhood memories, you've got the perfect wistful, yearning, catchy- as- fuck emo song everyone's been looking for. Sadly, none of the other songs on the record quite measure up to it. I guess I'll just have to settle for approaching perfection once per album.

Not to say that the rest of the album is shoddy by any means: it just doesn't quite hold up to the standard laid down by Self-Made Mess, or the perfect poppy sincerity of the leadoff track. See, like many emo bands, Six Going on Seven almost exclusively mine the ever- fruitful vein of human relationships. However, unlike many emo bands, Six Going on Seven goes about their business without the slightest hint of pretension or melodrama. The people in these songs are real, and so are the emotions presented. When Josh English spits out the chorus, "From best friends to better left unsaid/ Never again is a safe bet" on "Reverse Midas," you can feel the bile oozing from the shiny plastic disc, and you know you're a better person for it. And when, at the end of the song, English blurts "I'll never again become attached/ Like the burning house to the smoldering match," and the sensation of being burned, which lies latent throughout the song, reveals itself fully.

Heartbreak's Got Backbeat ends with another brief childhood reminiscence: "Every single day, kids die at bus stops of embarrassment when mom swings by to pick them up/ Someone, somewhere wishes that they'd kept in touch/ Hope you're getting on." And with that, the album closes... far too soon. With a scant nine songs and a running time of under 30 minutes, the record feels like a long EP rather than a full length. But when your product is as solid as Six Going on Seven's consistently is, I guess you've got the right to dole it out in small doses.

- Jeremy Schneyer


 
SPLENDID E-ZINE

Six Going on Seven
Heartbreak's Got Backbeat
Some

Filling up ice cube trays with peanut butter is not a good idea. Trust me on this one, I know from experience. However, purchasing Heartbreak's Got Backbeat and allowing it a couple months' residence in your CD player is a good idea. You'll have to trust me on that as well.

Six Going on Seven's sound is a powerful amalgamation of Pixies-like power fuzz filtered through the Cure's watery, chiming melodicism, with a dash of Mineral's rhythmic muscle thrown in for good measure. I guess it's fair to call them emo; they do, after all, have some of the requisite components of any "good" emo band: powerful, enveloping vocals, brash yet tuneful guitar work and a moniker that includes not one but two numbers. But unlike most albums these days, Heartbreak's Got Backbeat works better as a cohesive whole than it does on a "one good, one bad," song-by-song basis. Each song segues into the next with effortless grace; for instance, the propulsive rhythmic snap and guitar chug of "New/Improved!" winds itself gently into the emotive howl and snaking bass lines that drive "Reverse Midas." This is an album of all lean and no filler -- not one note is wasted in the hands of this mesmerizing trio. So rather than spreading chunky Skippy all over those oh-so-useful pieces of arctic blue plastic that reside in your freezer, take a trip down to your local record store and check out Heartbreak's Got Backbeat. Remember that if nothing else, it will be a hell of a lot easier to clean up when you're done.

- Jason Jackowiak


 
CMJ

Six Going On Seven
Some
Self-Made Mess

Although Six Going On Seven does sound like Fugazi - a fact its bio mentions straight off - this Boston-based trio shares more of the hybrid metal sound forged by such forgotten early '90s bands as Die Kreuzen and Skin Yard. Its songs are intricately crafted, sometimes too much so, and lead singer Josh English has almost more vocal emotion than his cords can handle. The band's songs are anchored on a discordant, off-kilter base, making the band sound much more noisy and antagonistic than its songs' actual structure would indicate. Like Laughing Hyenas before them, Six Going On Seven's very dissonance creates its own kind of element within the band. And, lest we forget, English does sound a lot like Fugazi's Guy Picciotto. It'd be easy to slot Six Going On Seven as another emo-core band, but this group holds a lot more harshness up its sleeve, and feels like a throwback to the golden time when metal and alternative almost converged. Mess-y, yes, but fun to explore.

- Megan Frampton: CMJ New Music Report Issue: 547 - Nov 24, 1997