By Sue Phillips
Question – What does an indie rock band do when their lead singer accidentally enters a talent contest and wins? Answer – Something unexpected.

Last Summer I drove around with the window wound down and the car stereo wound up playing the eponymously named Seven Summers album and sharing it with passing pedestrians and cyclists. It seemed to me that the world needed to hear this. Shame that my audience were only getting a few sound bytes before they were out of earshot, but a little is better than none. The album was put out independently because the music industry had not yet woken up to the prodigious talent of Matt Cardle, Jon Holland, Neillo and Alex Baker, but the band were beginning to make a name for themselves at grass roots level, winning the Panic Award for best band.

When Seven Summers’ vocalist Matt Cardle became a competitor in The X Factor, I searched the net for angry outpourings from the other band members: there were none. I watched his progress through the contest, seeing his best friend, his family, local pub landlords, even his school music teacher featured on the show, but not his band. They had decided not to cash in on Matt’s newfound celebrity, even when he won, opting instead to cancel bookings and sit tight until Matt’s stint with the show was done. His name is still listed on the Seven Summers facebook page as a band member and when drummer Alex Baker was rushed to hospital at the end of December, Matt went with the others to visit him.

While all this was going on, there was a steady demand from fans for Seven Summers to find a way of playing gigs and record more songs, even if it meant finding a stand in for Matt. The three remaining members resisted this too and people like me fretted over all that talent going to waste. Loyalty runs strong with these guys, bolstered by the kind of integrity you wish others in the music industry would show.

Finally, a surprise announcement. Patrick Kay had joined Neillo, Jon and Alex to form the new band Degrees and they already had a triple A single, Eclipse, recorded under the Seven Summers Records label. I’ve been listening to it and it’s a scorcher. The single comprises the tracks: ‘Eclipse’, ‘The Hex’ and ‘Bury the Horses’. Listen to all three on Myspace   or itunes

I chatted to Neillo, to find out how they managed to create such a distinctive sound so quickly and where they were headed next. You can read that interview here:

I’m so glad these guys are staying together and have found a vocalist worthy of them. I love Matt Cardle’s voice and unreservedly celebrate his success – I have his album on pre-order – but it’s been very annoying getting so enthused about Seven Summers and not knowing whether we’d get to hear any new stuff from them, so a bit of fresh Neillo, Jon and Alex +1 is extremely welcome. Patrick Kay is a very different singer, which is probably a good thing as comparisons can be unhelpful. The music Degrees is putting out is also very different from the Seven Summers style, but very appealing and potentially as addictive with a good hook in each song. The sound is full, yet not overpowering and the backing vocals work well with Patrick’s lead. The lyrics are intriguing too, particularly ‘Bury the Horses’ – looks like it’s going to be another summer of driving with the windows down and the stereo up. Now all that remains is to look forward to the album they are currently writing, which I hope won’t be too long in coming. Here’s wishing Degrees and Seven Summers Records the very best of luck.
Photograph – Kelly Davey (c) Seven Summers Records.


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