Review Summary: Hell From Jazz
Seven That Spells are, at the very least, an interesting instrumental psychedelic band hailing from Croatia. With an ever changing line-up and only one consistent member and that being guitarist Niko Potočnjak, Seven That Spells fuses aggressive psychedelic rock with traces of jazz, noise, acid and progressive to create a dynamic and often hard to digest wall of sound for those not accustomed to the genre. In other words, the guitar takes off with extended effect-laden solos, rarely resuming to groovy leads for more than 20 seconds and the rhythm section gets locked in an usual intricate hook that somewhat anchors Niko's tendencies to "fly off" the orbit. At a first listen, Acid Taking And Sweet Love Making
might sound as if the band doesn't know or control what they're doing, but there's a calculated chaos here that becomes clearer after getting past the soaring guitars. A general musical description of everything here might be Mars Volta gone insane and meeting Vibravoid.
Musically, the guitars easily dominate the tracks and the bass and drums are only there to create a foundation for solos and leads. However, even if this gives Niko the freedom to try whatever he pleases, it can become monotonous, almost always offering the same structure. Diving head first into the record, opener "Let's Go To San Francisco" starts with a twangy, almost surf-like lead reflecting the title, only to restart after 25 seconds with a space bound guitar solo and a warping bass line. The song gets even more insane, switching at one point to a more frantic pace and a higher pitched guitar solo following in and finally returning to the initial riff ending the track. Since there is no regular structure on any of the songs here, they can best be described through the changes in rhythms and even then it's better to just listen to the record to make a better opinion on them.
The next song, "Hell From Jazz" really can't be described in words, it just has to be listened. It's a 17-minute wah and feedback guitar solo over a background consisting of manic drumming and a bass line, which carefully follows the drums, that keeps droning for the duration of the whole song. This really is hell in musical form, but the length and the crazy, linear structure of the song makes it a weird and uneasy experience in a fun way. The listener (like myself) might return to this track just to hear it again for its sprawled insanity. "Emmigrant Song" sounds like Led Zeppelin on speed, with the band even incorporating a demented version of the original song's shouts. There isn't much diversity around this song either, only shifting halfway to a looser riff that keeps on going until the track ends, but like the previous track, "Hell From Jazz", if listened to in the right mood it can give an overwhelming experience. At such long lengths, these two tracks are a tough test to get by, even though they do not sound bad.
The last two songs "Easy Drugs & Hard Women" and "Noi Noi" continue this rather schizophrenic trip with surprisingly different moods. The former even gives a few minutes of relief to the listener through a nice, almost eerie breakdown only to return to the endless fretting, while the latter might be the most accessible song here, of course in Seven That Spells' own terms. The whole band keeps an acid rock style, one note riff and a straight drum pattern similar to the works of Vibravoid and from the background it slowly rises this warped, fuzz drenched, razor-like guitar riff akin to Spacemen 3's "Revolution" that covers all instruments and just holds there until the last minute of the track when it slowly fades, leaving the main note ending Acid Taking And Sweet Love Making
. These tracks fit perfectly with the band's live performances that are really dynamic and also, Niko's tongue-in-cheek humor together with his classic "sex, drugs & rock'n'roll" attitude makes this even funnier and more enjoyable.
This is a great album for those who love noisy, psychedelic records spiced up with acid rock and a huge doze of dementia all over it (not that many people). Acid Taking And Sweet Love Making
is a really challenging experience, but if listened to in the right mood, a fun, rewarding one.