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Seven Mary Three – Rock Crown

The Taranna Was Hot Series: Part 6/25

It’s been ages since I’ve heard this CD. I loved it, back in the day, but I couldn’t tell you what happened to my copy of it. No matter, the BMV 3-for-$10 bin hooked me up and I’m all set now.

I saw Seven Mary Three in concert right in between American Standard and this album. They were flying high, and their sound was perfect for the times. They were also a great live band, and it may even be likely that we heard them play a couple of these tracks before the record was released. Sadly, I don’t recall the setlist.

I’ve told this story before, but it bears repeating: Sook Yin Lee, a MuchMusic VJ, was there to announce the band’s set. She stood on stage and shouted to us all, “and now, here’s Mary Three Seven!” People laughed. She tried again. “Sorry! Here’s Three Seven Mary!” And people booed. In fact they booed her right off the stage (in tears). When the singer finally approached the mic, he said “Hi. We’re The Doors…” Oh man…

Back in the day, I loved the opening track, Lucky. And honestly, here in 2016, I still love it! What a great track. Inextricably tied to my memories of those days, this track is welcome in any mix I make today. I also think it was really bold to open the album with that song. That sort of confidence, instead of opening with the title track for example, says a lot about the band’s vision versus what might sell better, or whatever. They knew it was a great track, and it is!

Rock Crown ratchets up the energy and rocks us the hell out. Yes! The vocals are buried way back in the mix, guitars front and center. Needle Can’t Burn (What The Needle Can’t Find) brings out the Mellencamp/Gin Blossoms sound and it fits perfectly. Bet you can’t not tap your foot to this one! Love the guitar line.

Honey Of Generation is bluesy and slinky, and has a loud and crashing chorus section. Home Stretch swings while it rocks really hard. I really like the middle breakdown section with the arppegiating guitar. People Like New starts off with a great piano bit, then the band comes in and it becomes a sweeping epic tune. A highlight track!

Make Up Your Mind keeps us at mid-tempo, with some Zep-like guitar and a wonderful piano part. This would be a great show closer. Gone Away slows us down a bit more, a sweet and gentle late night-feel tune. The voice is front and center, and that guitar holds attention while the drums nail it down. Lovely.

Times Like These brings back the acoustics, a perfect coffee shop tune with just the right touches. Lovely. Up next is I Could Be Wrong, another slower and lovely tune complete with muted trumpet! At this point of the album, I have to imagine that fans of the heavier rock tunes, of which this band is quite capable, would be bored of all of this other stuff. And that’s a shame, these are really strong songs!

What Angry Blue? is one I remember from back in the day. It caught my ear for the bluesy guitars and the bullhorn vocals in some sections. When it explodes, it’s the big full-on rock track some would’ve been waiting for, and it owns. Very bluesy, great roadhouse music. Yeah! Houdini’s Angels brings back the gentle acoustics and the thoughtful slow song.

This Evening’s Great Excuse has an almost tribal drum part, with the band playing over top of that driving beat. It’s very powerful, bluesy, riveting. The big reveal middle section isn’t nearly as interesting (to me) as the rest of it – it doesn’t quite fit. Bring back the edge to it all (and it does). Player Piano gives us that driving, Johnny Cash-like snare drum intro and we lift into a rootsy jam track. I love the piano part (is it out of tune?). What a party! His voice shouldn’t work over top of this, but it does! And finally, it’s Oven, a strummy acoustic track that takes us right back to open mic night. By the time the rest of the instruments join in, including strings, it’s a great way to bring the album to a close. Again, loved the piano.

In Sum:

A generous 15 tracks that took me right back to hearing this record for the first time. There are so many great moments here,  I just know that my blathering up above hasn’t nearly done it credit. Suffice it to say, I loved it. Score!

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