Six Parts Seven immediately demonstrated that they're not your typical indie-rock band… Playing instrumental melodies at once buoyant and brooding, deliberate and evocative, the band featured no less than three guitars (with "high-lonesome" guitarst, Matt Haas alternately playing lapsteel), a bass guitar and drums, playing intricate lovely compositions. A singer…? Hmm. I'm not seeing a microphone.
"This next one is a lullaby," announced one of the guitar players (guess he found a mic after all). It started slowly… is this pretty, or is it boring?
My initial concern is that their name so closely resembles that of UK Shoegazers Six by Seven. My second (and quickly assuaged) question, "Is this new age?"
It's definitely pretty, a gracious and spacious melody.
This music flows, it cascades. The guitars sound like dabbling currents, chasing each other as they meander downstream.
This music is metaphorically water, it's so fluid. The pedal steel and the wall of guitar layers croon as creeks babble, nearly compensating for the lack of vocals. Lyrics would be almost superfluous. Well, except that I really like lyrics.
It was interesting that by the second song I found myself feeling the same way I felt about Carissa's Wierd the first time heard them live. I felt like I was missing something — that they were too subliminally cerebral for me to fully appreciate. Of course, by the time they were finishing up their shift, I was engulfed in the swells of melodic murkiness.
These guys have made a slow and sexy build into a crescendo so masterful. They have an excellent sense of timing and pace, unhurried and deliberate. They know they're arriving somewhere really good, but don't need to rush because their journey is lovely as well…
Though at times, the introductory periods of the song lag a bit, and my mind started to wander. Generally the Graceland audiences are pretty respectful of these quietly powerful emo-sensitive sorts, but I sensed the crowd getting a bit restless (and heard them getting considerably noiser) as the set progressed. Thankfully, the songs would then burst into this sonorous deluge of gorgeous guitar that would drown out the crowd (and any of my doubts about their creative prowess).
The songs had incredible changes in sound volume without sound difficulty — pretty amazing at Graceland. Next thing you know there will be TP in the bathroom too! Wait, it doesn't matter if there is toilet paper in there or not. They closed the bathrooms (citing some mechanical issue in the men's room). The Horror!
These guys are from Ohio, of all places, though they're signed to the local Suicide Squeeze label (also home to 764-HERO, Elliot Smith, Modest Mouse, Pedro the Lion, etc). I wonder how these midwest boys got so dialed in with such Pacific Northwest favorites? No matter. We're glad they did.