7 MILES TO PITTSBURGH-7 Miles To Pittsburgh
It took another 6 months to finally see the light of day, but it is worth the wait. The band around Dutch seasoned rockers Andrew Elt (Sleeze Beez, The Moon), Martin Helmantel (Elegy) and relatively youngster Joris Lindner (Komatsu) debuted on our pages with an in-depth article prior to its set release date. Sudden evoked interest from a label casted forward the release date, with the band finally deciding it was time to release the album independently, unwilling to wait another couple of months. It’s another couple of weeks in a lifetime with an album long in the making. But again: worth the freakin’ wait every minute of the spin.
We are pushed back into our seats with the energetic rocker ,,Same Size Soul’’ setting the standard for this excellent album. Down tuned guitars and throbbing bass line take us into the sticky chorus. A melodic hammer tune. The title track is a mid tempo, slightly ominous track with a lot going on. An overall organic sound compiled of a stop motion riff and ditto drum interaction putting it into action over a throbbing bass line while a Hammond deploys the taunting underscore. A blistering solo adds up to the joy of classic contemporary rock music being revived and it’s Elt ensuring a high level of pleasure to listen to. The man’s range has not caved nor has he lost his edge as we can hear in the following timid semi ballad ,,Lost And Found’’, with the charismatic frontman opening all registers in the chorus. An acoustic lick takes us on a ride through a hazy countryside with Elt’s voice as a warm and comfortable point of recognition. It’s this comfort lost when the song builds tension towards the chorus in which the band unloads energy and frustration with Andrew belting a perfect game. Pitching high and powerful, he finds ways to stretch the limits and turns things up a notch adding dissonance towards the end of the chorus and bringing things back down re-joining guitar and keys for the outro. Again the Hammond is dominantly duelling with the crunchy guitars during the chorus. The poise of the track is exorbitant evoking everything I like in classic rock. With guitar duties switched between Andrew, Martin and Joris, each song enrolls in a unique, yet recognizable 7MTP style. The bulk of jaw dropping solos however hails from Lindner who shows his skills as shredder with pointy and tasteful soloing. Aside his skills on guitar, the man is a powerhouse drummer who lays down an impressive beat and manages to kick some progressive hooks into motion with panache. Hard hitting and with an impeccable ‘feeling’ for a rock solid groove of which all songs benefit. Tiny mishaps are cherished to keep the production honest and organic. ,,Earth Dance’’ is a song with international allure, welling distorted sound and whammy effects in Drop D scale pulling it forward like a tractor. Bewitching vocals howling with a distinctive soaring edge, powering up to climax mid section where a solo of Gilmour proportion is somewhat dreamy but raging. ,,Damn’’ also links emotion with a powerful tune in mid pace, crafted around a powerful bass line highlighting Helmantel’s skills. It ploughs forward with the song packing a lot of power like a grenade waiting to explode.
Even finer are the moments in which the band takes it all down a notch like on the hymn for New Orleans ,,Jambalaya’’ with Elt shining brightly on both, guitar and vocals. The song is a warm and elegant slow paced melodic rocker which sounds tailor made for The Red Rocker to record. A powerful homage that oozes respect and devotion for the multi cultural melting pot of mankind and music, carefully moulded into a melodic hymn unloading its power in the chorus at the end with a high hat fading outro. It’s an unexpected side from Andrew’s companions also crystalized on the ballad ,,21 Grams’’. Blooming slowly but powerfully with a supernatural vibe captured in the songs body and in the lyrics; “The only thing left when you go is the weight of your soul”. Impressive and captivating beautiful, with a little gloomy sidestep.
Another masterpiece of international grandeur is the impressive ,,Above The Fold’’. Intensely melodic and driven the song lyrically draws from page one headlines focusing on the dramatic turn of events taken a person out of obscurity becoming a headline. Sound effects of actual 911 calls add up to the ominous darkness of the song ending with a gunshot. ,,Imaginary Friend’’ packs immense power and has a slick King’s X/Electric Boys-like underscore drawn think underneath a capitalized chorus. Musically it is sticky and damp as if it’s breathing frustration in clouds of thick mist. ,,If All Else Fails’’ is the last song on the album drawing from classic rock’s finest. Rich in toning it sounds somewhat reminiscent to the Hammond infested Spencer Davis and Manfred Mann’s best tunes without lacking the sonic power of The Zepp. Soulful it progresses into a funky mid section with cacophonic progressive layers of sound building towards the grand finale. ,,If All Else Fails’’ perfectly rounds up this extraordinary debut album from one of the finest new acts in Europe. It’s a rich sounding cocktail of classic elements combined with a dark edge and modern touch, delivered with enthusiasm radiating off the edges of the disc. 7 Miles To Pittsburgh manages to bridge gaps between the classic era and modern times and inject it all with their own unique overall sound and charisma. Influences range from as far as Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd to The Mob and King’s X, and everything in between. The outcome is as smashing as it is overwhelming and it tends to keep growing on you. The unity of the band is impeccable and the music oozes quality and perfection. On top of it all, the album is blessed with a top-notch powerful sound that spits gravel and adds to the sonic adventure of listening. This album is a real facehugger of international grandeur!
The album comes as a regular CD version and in several different formats including a vinyl edition, which is strictly limited.
You can read an interview with the band here