Seven Roads is the second album from Strike the colours (which consists of Jenny Reeve and a variety of musical band mates), following up their highly acclaimed debut, The Ship that Sank a thousand Ships. And from what I can tell, the band have cracked the often tricky ‘successful second album’ riddle. And that’s variety- mixing up the drama with the light, and the harsh with the gentle.
The first song on the album, ‘Cold Hands’ has some incredibly powerful drumming which combine with Jenny’s vocals and string action to shock the listener to attention. We get lighter in the next song, ‘Breathing Exercises’, (so as to not scare the listener off too much I assume). Following through the album we have some meaty tracks like ‘Safety in Numbers’ which are full to the brim with angst, which contrasts nicely to the softer melodies in ‘If I don’t Belong and ‘Train of Thought’. There is even a song which I swear could have been lifted from a musical, ‘Woodlands’ is a narrated tale helped along by the piano and violin. The last song, ‘Rivers’ is such a gentle end with ‘ooohs’ to make you melt- you’ll think you’ve been on a great adventure and have fallen asleep in the back of the car.
My analogy of falling asleep on a car journey is surprisingly accurate actually, looking at the band’s website they describe this second album as one inspired by journeys and roads. They feel the songs have a continuity and almost a dialogue which I totally agree with- it’s as if each song is answering the other’s question.
Strike the Colours is a nautical saying meaning to surrender ones ship, to admit defeat- but judging by this body of work these guys aren’t surrendering anything.
Words: Kat Nicholls