Six Parts Seven Everywhere and Right Here

[Suicide Squeeze; 2004]

Rating: 2/5

Styles: post rock, indie rock
Others: Explosions in the Sky, Do Make Say Think, Mogwai

At a U.S. Maple Cleveland date in 2002, I beheld the Six Parts Seven for the first time. It must be difficult for venues to decide who to pair with Chicago's finest avant-everything troupe, and 6P7 were not an ideal fit. The band's languid, inoffensive brand of American instrumental rock was the opposite of the headliners' style: where the Maple is sleazy, disturbing, and incomprehensible, the Six Parts Seven are head-bobbing and shoulder-resting. Equally complex, perhaps, but anything but arresting. A testament to such is the frequent use of the band's songs as background/segue music on NPR. I was personally accosted by the band's drummer, Jay Karpinski (who plays with his brother Allen on guitar) after I (admittedly a bit inebriated) incited the boys to "rock!" between songs. After the show I was interrogated by Jay. "Do you even like music?" he asked. "We brought more people to this show than U.S. Maple."

I struggle to abstain from a snide tone. Please. I am trying. But here's the crux: the Six Parts Seven still aren't doing it for me. Everywhere and Right Here explores the same sonic territory of their previous album, Things Shaped in Passing. If nothing else, the band is faithful to their song and album titles, presenting the listener with bland, forgettable pastiches to match the wishy-washy emo-ness of song titles like "What You Love You Must Love Now," "Already Elsewhere," "Saving Words for Making Sense," and "A Blueprint of Something Never Finished." This relieves me; clearly, I am not missing the point of these songs. Bands like Mogwai, Do Make Say Think, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor (in various incarnations) succeed best when they produce dynamic pieces which surprise, invigorate, and sadden -- all within a single track. The Six Parts Seven seem content to charm with their group interplay and proficiency. Unfortunately, they fail to do much else. And yes, Mr. Karpinski, I like music.

1. What You Love You Must Love Now
2. Already Elsewhere
3. Saving Words for Making Sense
4. This One or That One?
5. What (Can We Just Make Out)
6. The Quick Fire
7. A Blueprint of Something Never Finished
8. Nightlong