707 - 1980 707

richardbrichardb Poole, Dorset

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ARTIST: 707
ALBUM: 707
LABEL: Casablanca
SERIAL: NBLP 7213
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 2008, Renaissance, RMED-192 * 2017, Rock Candy Records, CANDY331

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Kevin Russell - vocals, guitars * Duke McFadden - vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitars * Phil Bryant - bass, vocals * Jim McClarty - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Could Be Good For You * 02 Let Me Live My Life * 03 One Way Highway * 04 Save Me * 05 You Who Needs To Know * 06 Slow Down * 07 Feel This Way * 08 Waste Of Time * 09 Whole Lot Better

WEBLINKS: www.kevinrussell.com

Background

This is a band much loved by the GDM team and AOR fans alike, the classic 'Megaforce' album having already been reviewed elsewhere on this site.

707 originally started off performing in the LA clubs in the late 1970's and it wasn't long before they eventually got their break landing a deal with Casablanca.

The experienced Norman B Ratner (co-founder of the 'Rock and roll hall of fame) was duly recruited for production duties.

The Songs

Billboard magazine's review of the debut was 'well-executed mainstream rock with slight new wave influences'. More like pomp with a commercial slant I'd say.

Those pomp rock fans amongst us will find that 707's debut delivers all the staple ingredients required to satisfy their appetite for the overblown - intricate musicianship, tempo changes, sweeping orchestral arrangements, plenty of melodramatic choruses and an abundance of keyboard/guitar interplay.

The big drum sound prevalent throughout, reinforces the majestic nature of this musical experience (goodness just listening to this album is beginning to make my prose sound pompous!).

Billboard magazine went on to add 'Kevin Russell's vocals and guitar work are two factors which make this effort shine' indeed they do, but he appeared more than happy to share centre stage with keyboardist Duke McFadden who helped pen the majority of the material.

The album takes off with the minor hit 'I Could Be Good For You'. It's essentially a mid tempo affair with Jim McClarty's booming drums providing a solid backbeat for Kevin Russell's intricate guitar lines and Duke McFadden's deft keyboards, the hard-hitting chorus underlining it's pomp credentials.

'Let Me Live My Life ' is a more up-tempo number fuelled by Duke McFadden's piano and Kevin Russell's biting guitar.

The lush orchestrated ballad 'One Way Highway' slows down proceedings, though it's never wimpy thanks to the aforementioned big thudding drums and Kevin Russell's crunching power chords.

'Save Me' and 'You Who Needs To Know' are more upbeat, entertaining romps where guitar and keyboard interplay are utilised to maximum effect, the latter tune ending in a flurry of piano and guitar dynamics.

The hard driving 'Slow Down' and its quirky harmonies continue the pomp bombast over on side two.

'Feel This Way' is another lively tune chock full of crunching guitar chords interspersed with some tasteful keyboard playing and a memorable chorus to boot.

'Waste Of Time' has inventive time changes, the broody intro of pumping bass, solid drumbeats and understated guitar, switching suddenly to a high tempo instrumental workout with some frenetic guitar playing from Kevin Russell.

The powerful closer 'Whole Lot Better' weighing in at nearly 7 minutes is epic in every sense of the word the orchestrated string section every bit as effective as those deployed on Airborne's 'No Exception To The Rule' or Grand Prix's 'Which Way Did The Wind Blow' for that matter.

In Summary

Definitely a contender for one of my favourite pomp rock albums of all time and one I find myself revisiting on a regular basis.

Subsequent releases by 707 were harder rocking though less overblown, hence the reason why their debut holds a special place in my affections.


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