Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze onto Track Seven, an independent outfit from New York that’s just released their latest studio endeavor. Entitled ‘The Try and the Fail,’ the band’s new seven track EP is a dynamic excursion through some pretty genre-defying music. I’d go as far to argue that classifying the act into a specific box wouldn’t do them justice. Let’s dig into the music to learn why...
Track Seven is a band fronted by Cost, the lead singer and songwriter. He’s most certainly an ambitious guy. As he puts it, his attention is on the world - not just his local community. In order to connect with the world, however, he pulls from his local surroundings and experiences to craft his songwriting. “My genre is broadcasting,” he says. It’s an apt self-analysis - he broadcasts his world-view through a cascading waterfall of genre switches.
‘The Message,’ the opening track of ‘The Try and the Fail,’ introduces Cost and his bandmates as a sharply executed collective. Their musical prowess is immediately tangible, and the track is dipped in a myriad of stylings. Cost approaches his lyricism in rap form - he sounds eerily similar to Jay Z. (That’s a high compliment.) The instrumentation around him, however, is funky, soulful, and rocking. It’s a collision of half a dozen different genres.
In the latter moments of ‘The Message,’ the track evolves into an atmospheric instrumental jaunt through funk bass and eclectic synthesizers. ‘Today,’ the next track, then offers a massive sonic contrast. It’s an anthemic track that even flirts with pop sensibilities. ‘Today’ is essentially an inspirational track that utilizes hip hop, pop, and rock themes to create a thoroughly enjoyable soundscape.
Cost is a good songwriter - there’s no question about that. His rhymes are slick and polished, his delivery is ferocious, and these are tunes that could stand tall against industry counterparts. ‘Go Get It,’ like many of the tracks, toys with some Christian ideals and imagery - it’s a bit part of Track Seven’s comradery and belief system. I dig that about them - it serves one well to not forget where they came from.
‘Go Get It’ has a sentiment that reminds me a bit of Kanye West - a God-loving aura that merges with a highly confident one. Like with West, it’s a bit contradictory. Cost isn’t overly modest - he exudes self-determination, referring to himself as a champion at every corner. When he calls upon his faith, however, he maneuvers into a more humble space. It’s a fascinating chemistry, one I think Cost does share with West, for good or ill.
Like ‘Today,’ ‘Go Get It’ is most certainly a pop-influenced inspirational track. The sparse auto-tune on the vocals is actually quite complementary as well. It isn’t a crutch; it’s a creative tool. ‘I See You Boy’ toys with different elements of Cost’s songwriting following the two inspirational tracks. The result is one of the more concrete tracks on the record - ‘I See You Boy’ is the early highlight of the EP.
‘Die,’ I’d argue, is the high-point of ‘The Try and the Fail.’ Cost’s lyrics are intensely poignant as he tackles the societal struggle of urban populations in cities like New York and Chicago. Being an artist here in Chicago, ‘Die’ is a track I immediately connected with. The Windy City is overrun with gun violence and turmoil. The nightly news here is a bloodbath of innocent boys and girls with no way out of bad situations. Track Seven get it. ‘Die’ speaks the language of people like myself that live in these burdened cities.
The authenticity of ‘Die’ is carried onto ‘Doubt Me,’ which in turn concretes the track as another one of the EP’s best. The song’s piano riff bounces back and forth with insanely tight bass and percussion performances. Track Seven has musical chemistry that’s undeniable - something that is encapsulated in the finale, the titular track. ‘The Try and the Fail’ is a beautiful composition and an elegant closer.
‘The Try and the Fail’ is a real EP. It feels real, and it feels alive. It breathes authenticity and it’s a genuinely excellent effort. In the scope of the independent scene, I’d argue Track Seven is making a remarkable statement for their continued relevance with this release. It’s one of the finest efforts in the community thus far this year. I’d love to see the band delve even deeper into these musings on future endeavors. This is a great way to kick off a journey worth keeping tabs on.