Good things come to those who wait. Following a false start in the genre of progressive bluegrass, a shake-up in membership, and a long hiatus that followed, The New Seven reemerged of late. Now locked in as a folk-rock quartet, the NEW New Seven finally has something tangible, well-thought, and all-around impressive to show for its slow and steady approach with the release of its long-awaited debut full-length, Look Closer, Say Something.
From the slow strumming in the opening moments of first track “Alive & Well,” the record’s predominately downtrodden overtone is established. That song, as well as the majority of others on the album—most notably “Old Vincent” and “Run In Circles”—find dual vocalists Tony Smith and Morgan Montesanto padding delicate instrumentation with somber and airtight unisex harmonies. The (almost entirely) instrumental “It’s All The Same” shows the proficient project’s range, as it careens from screeching, atmospheric guitar work akin to that of Elliott’s Song In The Air, to a sharp tempo shift to something loosely reminiscent of elevator music. Similarly, the guitar noodling and spastic time signatures in “13” show glimmers of The New Seven’s versatility before nestling in the quartet’s primarily weighty musical mainstay.
While decidedly downcast, Look Closer, Say Something manages to shine by way of solid musicianship and a distinctly emotional advancement of familiar folk conventions that combine to justify The New Seven’s lengthy and elaborate reinvention process—the very process that birthed this impactful debut. Listen to Look Closer, Say Something in its entirely before it’s released, only at Milwaukee Record.