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27

Holding on for Brighter Days

(Relapse; US: 26 Jun 2007; UK: Available as import)

The Relapse label is often associated with death metal bands. Trust me! I’ve gotten enough of them to know. But 27 offers up a totally different style and sound, one that definitely catches the listener off-guard with its ambient, ethereal tone. “Brighter Days” is a slow, gorgeous tune that brings to mind The Jesus and Mary Chain or Thee Heavenly Music Association. Singer Maria Christopher is perfect on nearly all of the tracks, especially the airy “Heaven Owes Me One” that glides along and is in no hurry to conclude. This method is improved during the delightful ballad “Half Life” that should have found its way onto the Lost in Translation soundtrack. But 27 are equally adept at the trip-hop flavored “Closer to You” that hits a groove and rides the hell out of it. However, 27 at times rely on the song to do most of the work as is the case with the dynamic but at times disappointing “A Million Years”. The greatest moments on the record are found on “Windows and Glass” that Christopher gives a hushed, sweet delivery on. The homestretch also contains the meandering “The Downfall of the Upright” and the epic, alluring and hypnotic “Sorrow’s Crown”.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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