REVIEW: 7Seconds – ‘Leave A Light On’

7 seconds

Artist: 7 Seconds
Album: Leave a Light On
Genre: Hardcore
Label: Rise Records

Remember back when punk musicians didn’t care to impress anybody but themselves?

Alright, music fans can (and will) argue that punks have always been apathetic towards the opinions of others, but it almost feels like with every passing year, there are more and more bands who make their releases more “radio-friendly.” This isn’t a call-out of today’s music, but more of a recognition of the uncompromising and genuine nature within the music of the past.

Meet 7Seconds: a band who have remained just as uncompromising and honest as ever for more than 30 years.

To even say that a group like 7Seconds have released an album such as Leave A Light On (their 15th studio album and first album in almost nine years, I might add) is a feat within itself. This Reno, NV band’s roots stretch all the way back to the original days of hardcore and have even been known as one of the first acts to classify their sound as “hardcore.”

“Exceptional” starts the record off fast and…well, fast. It’s almost like they want to show how they’re literally incapable of slowing down by any means whatsoever. Judging by the pitch and delivery behind his voice, there’s a good chance that first-time listeners of the band would spit-take at the realization that the band is fronted by a 53-year-old Kevin Seconds.

Looking at the overall flow of Leave A Light On, it feels as if the first half of the record is focused on reminding listeners of who they are and what they’re made of; that being that they’re a straightforward, posi-hxc band who loves their gang vocals and power chords. The second half – if anything – can come off like a message to the punks of today from punks who have came, saw, and conquered in the past.

I won’t ignore the irony that’s overflowing here. I’m well aware of the fact that I’m a 21-year-old reviewing a band composed of people who happen to double me in age. Say whatever you will about all of this; but the interesting fact is that while I might be a younger guy trying to be in touch with the old-school, there are moments where the old-school tries to reach out to younger crowds.

Yeah, I’m talking about moments like the track “Slogan on a Shirt,” where Seconds boldly challenges his audience to actually “walk the walk,” by singing out the lines “we gotta spread this shit around, making more than just a slogan on a shirt.” And then there’s the album’s melodic and eye-opening closing track, “Simple or Absolute,” which is all about trying to change the narrow-minded nature of a genre plagued by elitism, as said by people who have lived through it.

I once overheard some crust-punk kid at a show ask one of his friends, “if compressors and noise gates are used, is it still punk?” While I did (and still do) rail on this kid, I will recognize the heart behind that question, and that’s “how well-produced can punk music get before it loses its very integrity?” Yeah, it’s no longer as expensive and time consuming to polish up recordings as it used to be, so some production work only makes sense, but it’s a little off-putting to hear an album that doesn’t match the roughness of the band’s earlier work.

Every band has their own little formula that they rely on with every release. Some bands change that formula by building it up, some change it by stripping it down. For 7Seconds, it’s a formula that may have been changed a couple of times throughout the band’s career, but ultimately, it comes straight back to where it all started. With that, there’s some expected repetition, and simultaneous expectations for newer albums to sound just as solid as the ones that this group’s made their name off of, and that’s exactly the case with Leave A Light On.

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by Adrian Garza – Follow him on Twitter

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