(Lions Pride Music)
Review by Woody
Seven Hard Years or just plain old and unpronounceable 7HY is the band assembled by former SHY drummer Alan Kelly who is also the principal song writer. Stories We Tell is the second album from 7HY and once again features the vocal prowess of American Shawn Pelata alongside a host of other guest musicians like guitarist’s Pete Fry (Far Cry) and Calle Hammer (Houston).
I really enjoyed the debut album which was released a couple of years ago but I think Stories We Tell is overall a far superior album. The songs have a strong British sound to them and you do get a feeling of retro eighties style British melodic rock in the song writing. Although Kelly has strong connections to SHY I don’t feel the songs here or indeed on the debut really scream of similarity and I find they have their own more distinct sound. This is essentially a melodic rock album but for me the majority of the songs have a very heavy edge most notably in the fast and pounding drums and bass, so it has a more bombastic heavy melodic rock swing to it overall. There are some touches of AOR in the song writing mainly in the vocal melodies which give a nice smooth edge to many of the harder edged tracks.
Shawn Pelata really sounds at his best on this album delivering some stirling performances that are very memorable. We don’t hear enough from Pelata so when we do it’s great to hear him on top of his game and it seems Kelly’s songs bring out the best in him.
As much as I’ve come to enjoy the album it isn’t an instant one and it will take a few spins for it to get its hooks into you. If you’re going to enjoy this album it will grab you on initial plays but it will be on further plays when you’ll really appreciate it and get hooked. I think what holds the album back a bit and makes it a little less commercial is there isn’t enough immediate knockout punch choruses making its impact subtler making the album more of a sleeper hit than radio friendly cannon fodder.
This is one of those albums I can imagine musicians really appreciating as it has some top draw musical performances which many muso’s I think will appreciate and admire. There is some great gritty guitar riffs and fast paced guitar widdling for hardcore music fans to wet their pants over. Within the song writing I think there is a lot for music lovers to find, enjoy and digest but anyone who is looking for three-minute sugar rushes won’t get that hit here.
Stand out tracks include the atmospheric ballad ‘Only Human’ which has a haunting and ethereal taste to it, Heavy rocker ‘Church’ which showcases the thunderous side to the band in style, ‘Wasn’t Always Like This’ with its emotive and powerful chorus and ‘Don’t Believe A Word’ with its insistent chorus. ‘Into You’ is the most radio friendly song and probably the only instant song on the album and it shows the band in a softer smooth melodic rock style and it has a killer retro eighties keyboard hook.
It’s a very cohesive and linear album so it makes for a very enjoyable listen from start to finish. It’s a very solid collection of hard edged melodic rock with flashes of AOR that I’m sure genre aficionados will really appreciate.
Track Listing: I’ll Survive / Break the Spell / Don’t Believe A Word / One More Day / Only Human / Church / Into You / Broken Man / Driving Me Crazy / I’ve Been Waiting / Sweet Sensation / Wasn’t Always Like This / Driving Me Crazy (duet)
Album Rating: 8/10
Woody’s Essential Track: Into You
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