Artist:  7th Heaven
   Title: USA - UK
   Label:
NTD Records  

Who'd have thought that the winner of that "great British TV show Pop-stars - the rivals" would end up being a member of one of the best 3 bands in Chicago?

Not Keith Semple, ex-member of One True Voice, now singer of 7th Heaven, and by all accounts things are looking rather rosy for the band, with the album 'USA - UK' being the outcome of some years of hard work on the circuit.

The album starts off quite promising with 'Better This Way', it's touches of late 80's Def Leppard seeping in due to the merging harmonies and catchy guitar hooks that give it that power pop edge which is the Def's own bread and butter formula.

The fact that 7th Heaven have been on the go since 1985, the two remaining original members Richie Hofherr and Michael Mooshey seem to have made sure they've moved with the times, possibly aiming the band towards the teenage market, where the likes of 'Cellophane', 'Still Be Here' and 'Gave You My Word' all have those "teen movie dynamics" about their sound.  OK, they have the odd touch of clever guitar solo to add bite, but I don't think Slash needs to worry just yet!

Their smash hit 'This Summers Gonna Last Forever' was always going to be exactly that, it's happy, snappy sing-along groove obviously appealed to the masses of pop fans during the sunny months, but instantly forgettable for the real rock fan out there.  And that's where the problem lies for 7th Heaven.  They come across too "boy band with instruments" (no offence intended Tammy Mooshey) to be taken too seriously as a bona fide rock band.  Bon Jovi? Journey??  Sorry, but no.  Savage Garden at best to be kind.

Said "boy band" tag again shows on 'Ghost Of Me', though to be fair, along with some airy keyboards the guitar riff does give it a bit more "oomph" than before, but its back to basics with 'Save Your Life' and 'Winning It All'.  Fortunately 'Oh So Really Old' comes along and brings that Def Leppard sound into play again, nearly a proper rock n' roll song courtesy of some fine guitar n' drum work.

The haunting ballad 'Tragedy' changes the mood of the whole album instantly, and really could have been placed earlier than track 13 just to break the repetitive pattern each song was taking, but not to worry, another guitar based track 'Undone' holds back that pattern just a wee bit more before the inevitable happens, 'Dreams Of A New Day' and 'Electronic Karma', though not as lightweight, still cry out pop music.

'Take Me Back' hammering that nail once and for all, as does that final track 'While You Dream'.

Given all that, as said earlier, 7th Heaven are definitely one hard working band, performing at 50 plus festivals per year, doing over 250 shows a year and touring the U.S. in 2010, so they are going about the business the right way to make a name for themselves.  The only thing is, this type of power pop is getting done time and time again, so it's going to have to be something really special to stand out from the crowd and is 'USA - UK' the one to do it for 7th Heaven?  Only time will tell.

Review by: Bob Baldwin  

Tracklisting:

1. Better The Way
2. Cellophane
3. Still Be Here
4. Gravity
5. Gave You My Word
6. Kill The Cycle
7. This Summers Gonna Last Forever
8. Ghost Of Me
9. Save Your Life
10. Hand On My Heart
11. Winning It All
12. Oh So Really Old
13. Tragedy
14. Undone
15. Dream Of A New Day
16. Electronic Karma
17. Take Me Back
18. While You Dream

                  

 

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