NIGHT RANGER / SEVEN
ZERO XRCN-2023
OVERALL: 94%
  1. Sign Of The Times
  2. Janes Interlude
  3. Panic In Jane
  4. Don't Ask Me Why
  5. Kong
  6. Mother Mayhem
  7. Soul Survivor
  8. Sea Of Love
  9. Crazy World (Bonus)
  10. Peace Sign
  11. When I Call On You
  12. Revelation
  13. Let Him Run (Bonus)
Just in case you haven't read my original review - now the US has a local release out thru CMC - here it is again! 5 or so months on and I am still playing this album to death and love it to pieces! Classic Night Ranger.
I anticipate a new Night Ranger album with enthusiasm reserved only for a handful of artists. Why? Because Night Ranger have never made a bad record. Their style has changed over almost every album, but their core trademarks remain to create classic American hard rock, like no one else can.
Seven is the band's second release since re-forming to the original line up.
Jack Blades called this album as the band's 'immature' album, after I described Neverland as a very mature record. That is only half true though, as this album continues the more polished and mature sounds of it's predecessor. Where it does lighten up and have some fun is in the intelligent, yet tongue in cheek lyrical content.
I think Seven mearly enhances the new styles and different sounds of Neverland, while maybe returning to some more familiar territory with some heavier songs and a stack more guitar!
I think also that the album leans more towards a Jack Blades style of record. I feel there is a couple of comparisons to Damn Yankees on Seven, and he certainly had a hand in writing all of the tracks.
The production is also superb. Sharp crisp songs with an even mix throughout. I am not sure where Fitz fits into things though, as he is only clearly visible when he gets the spot light on the 1998 version of 'Let Him Run'.
Sign Of The Times opens the album, and despite hearing a preview of the track, I was blown away at the amount of guitars and the heaviness of this track as it progresses toward it's climax. Jeff and Brad quite simply go off! The chorus has to be amongst the most classic Night Ranger have ever recorded, and is an instant classic. Great fun lyrics, and Jack is singing like a demon!
Jane's Interlude mearly serves as an intro into Panic In Jane, the main single or radio track. This track starts with electric guitars, but is evenly serviced with acoustics throughout, with Jack going through a sort of rappy verse and a more laid back chorus than the last track, reminiscent of Walk In The Future, just an octave higher.
Don't Ask Me Why is a big hands in the air ballad, mid paced, and featuring some nice keyboard created string effects. A live classic in the making.
Kong is a killer rock track, with uncharacteristic vocals from Kelly. The songs builds from it's cool start to become a screamer of a chorus. Kelly is singing tough, and I believe him! This song would have fitted perfectly on the Damn Yankees 'Don't Tread' record. Tommy Shaw on backing vox only emphasizes this. There are some cool percussion effects courtesy of Jack's buddy Mark Hudson and Tommy Shaw. Michael Carabello also appears on the record, and I wouldn't mind betting it's on this track also. A fun jungle rocker!
Mother Mayhem is one of the surprise tracks. It is acoustically driven, but also features electric guitars. It kind of just cruises through a mid paced vocal driven verse, a continues to cruise through a very laid back harmony chorus, almost whispered, with Jack hardly raising a sweat. Very cool and a real change of pace.
Soul Survivor sees Kelly back at the mike, and remains fairly laid back in nature. A mid paced tale of life, with a more rocking chorus and great, if not simple, hook.
Sea Of Love starts off with a studio demo as an intro and then launches itself into hard rocking style in the vein of New York Time. A subdued vocal until a bridge and a chorus that lifts the pace entirely. Another big live track.
Crazy World is a Kelly Keagy ballad, and a big acoustic driven typical Night Ranger ballad.
Peace Sign is another big rock track, in the vein of the harder parts of Neverland. Jointly driven by acoustic and electric guitars, it still rocks well, and has very cool lyric. The chorus is something like My Elusive Mind. Great guitars.
When I Call On You is another big acoustic driven ballad, sung by Jack. It starts soft and builds to a full band conclusion.
Revelation is one of those tunes that only Night Ranger can pull off. A cool intro, with some off beat guitar effects, launching into a rocking beat like the title track to Neverland, and a moody verse from Jack that builds to a killer chorus and layers of guitars that will have every fan calling this track a classic. Another Neverland style rocker.
Let Him Run ends the Japanese pressing, with some fine keys work from Fitz, that really suits the song down to the ground.
So there we have it. Another killer Night Ranger album. I can't see that to many people won't love this, but if something about Neverland put you off, this is middle ground between that on the bands' first five albums.
Some sounds new, some sounds old, and a lot of Neverland in between.
Definitely better than the Japanese version of Neverland, but with that album's US release and better running order, I think maybe that Neverland will narrowly beat out Seven.
In short - another winning album from the most consistent band in rock n roll. I love it!
PRODUCTION: 95% SONGS: 93% VIBE: 95% ATTITUDE: 93%

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