Seven Star: Everything Isn't Everything (self-released)

Local popsters Sevenstar have released their latest offering, Everything Isn’t Everything, which is one of the sharpest albums I have heard in 2004. The album is an interesting mix of well-written lyrics and memorable rhythms. To me, that is Sevenstar’s appeal: the ability to create catchy tunes that permanently lodge themselves into the listener’s brain and won’t get the hell out.

For example, the second song on the CD, “Wounded,” has more hooks than a bait shop. Grant Essig’s clean vocals combined with Jaclyn Mayer’s funky bassline produce one of the best songs on the entire album.

Sevenstar does turn the energy down and the talent up with a few slower tracks. The first ballad-esque track, “Perfect Morning Remedy,” is a hit waiting to happen. A smooth (and muted) rhythm section frames Essig’s love poem perfectly. “Head North” is just a simple acoustic serenade into which Essig pours his heart to create a smartly written lullaby. Both of these songs give the album a sense of humility and warmth.

The one song that stands out as a natural rock anthem is “Every Little Thing.” This song has all the makings of a retro-rock hit. A tight rhythm section, amusing backing vocals, and a healthy dash of high-energy rock combine to showcase the band’s intoxicating spirit.

The one aspect of the album that did annoy me was how some of the songs would just not end. Several of the tracks have extended musical interludes tacked on, which just aggravates me. I often found myself hitting the “next track” button when the natural progression of the song seemed over.

Let’s face it: You may not find the meaning of life on this album, but what you will get is a solidly produced album full of great pop music.

-- Jim Campbell