Friday, October 15, 2010

You're the Answer by Seven Red Seven

Seven Red Seven was one band (among several) that had some modest mainstream success at the very end of the 80s and very beginning of the 90s by sounding as much like Depeche Mode as they could. There was a little cottage industry of bands who did this: Seven Red Seven, Cause & Effect, Camouflage, Red Flag and others. Some of the bands in this little cottage industry weren't quite quick enough off the draw to become well known before the market crash that made synthpop unpalatable for mainstream record labels, but after struggling for a few years managed to self-release or indie-release material and become amongst the luminaries of the newer underground synthpop movement of the 90s and 00s, like Mesh and De/Vision.

These artists generally lacked the subtlety and artistry of Depeche Mode, but they seem to have correctly figured that if they had the same vaguely similar sound and wrote their songs to be danceable and get played in clubs, that they could milk that approach for a record deal and some sales, and for the most part, it seems to have worked quite well for them, for at least a few years.
Each of them also seem to have had a "schtick" or defining feature; what they brought to the table with their variety of Depeche Mode imitation. Seven Red Seven's was that they were fans of electro music, apparently, and did a lot with samples, tape loops, and deadpan, distorted (or sampled) vocals. However, not all of their songs were like this, it was just a prominent theme on their debut album Shelter. The songs that are best remembered are straight up electronic dance music tracks like "That Way Again" or "Thinking of You." The song I selected, "You're the Answer" was one that I thought showed more artistic merit than most of the rest of the album. It also got a second lease on life when Synthpop Mk. II band Iris covered it for their long delayed sophomore album Awakening in 2005.

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