Review: Seven Nines And Tens ‘Over Opiated In A Forest Of Whispering Speakers’

David Cotton’s Seven Nines And Tens have been crafting joyfully named projects since the 2011 instrumental debut Habitat 67. Their second album, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Slums, followed in 2017 which managed to sneak in a few lyrics, amplifying the Pink Floyd references and filling their sound out quite a bit.

Seven Nines And Tens ‘Over Opiated In A Forest Of Whispering Speakers’

Over Opiated In A Forest Of Whispering Speakers is their newest and most fleshed out project to date and features artwork by Ahmed Emad Eldin whose most notable work is The Endless River by Pink Floyd. I think it’s pretty safe to assume this band is quite enamored by King Crimson and Porcupine Tree. Production was handled by David Cotton along with his old friends Matt Roach and Adam Vee. Something that permeates this entire album is a sense of both exploration and familiarity. It’s best listened to with closed eyes, noise canceling headphones, and an open mind.

What follows is where it took me…

A listless urgency floods over me on opener Popular Delusions. Apparently, there are three people singing. They seem to be layered and woven into gliding guitars warping me to feel like I’m trapped in a crowded place as the lyrics ‘so burnt out’ creep down my spine. Guitars transition from soft to jagged and cut the drums like a knife leading me deeper in my imaginary dance party, all while the vocals flare and flatten.

The mellow start of Throwing Rocks At Mediocrity makes the mess I‘m in feel loving. Hopeful, I see familiar faces until a change of pace leaves a sense more lost than before as those familiar faces melt and distort. It never quite takes my breath away but forces a near anxiety attack. Midnight Marauders straightens the sounds like catching a glimpse of a perfect chance encounter in the crowd. It’s a lavish warmth I feel deep in my belly. Locking eyes with someone just close enough to recognize they feel it too. Like two extreme forces drawn to each other but separated by this impenetrable hoard of barriers. The guitars gel like a new spring day after a harsh winter with frost still lingering in the air.

Guitars transition from soft to jagged and cut the drums like a knife…

Cautiously optimistic the album dances on. The wallowing Let’s Enjoy The Aimless Days While We Can explodes, pushing and pulling the tones with raw power. The guitars are so awe inspiring the stranger’s presence flees my mind and for the first time on Over Opiated… my breath is finally taken away. Shoegaze elements are everywhere. Edutainment is less dense. Like this thing I’ve been trapped in all night begins to loosen its grip on my senses. The vocals echo as the guitar and drums hit like raindrops. Fight For Your Right To Partial Relevance is the flood to the door after this raging affair. Each note feels like it’s racing. My sights scanning for anything tangible. Friends I’ve made show themselves, but I’m still searching for something new.

Emptiness floods as ‘only you… can get those years back’ begins closer Sunshine. A tapping, reminiscent of a stick breaking repeatedly, gives a depressing scene of events of a night out not completely finished but quickly fleeting. A groovy bass line starts and stops. Soon a deafening silence begins. An interrupting guitar is strummed at random. The instruments surge like a flashing bit of hope. The stranger is seen again. Notes come flooding like the first rays of light in a day. The stranger is met as a new beginning fills me with life.

Then my eyes open…

This need to separate myself from reality is becoming such a huge part of my life that I’m relying more and more on music to transport my thoughts away. Consciousness is so grim right now with each news story leading me further into the deeper parts of my mind. Seven Nines And Tens have added a new layer of depth to that escape.

Label: Willowtip Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Richard Murray