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Artist: The World Inside/ Seven Head Division
Label: True Tunes Records (2001)
Length: 16 Tracks (64:12 minutes)

While sharing disc space seems more the domain of an EP than a full-length effort, the pairing of The World Inside and Seven Head Division for the 16-song release, Untitled, actually works well due to the largely intersecting paths of the bands represented.  Jesse Sprinkle met Seven Head Division drummer Andy King at the Cornerstone Festival near the end of Sprinkle's tenure as drummer for Christian alternative act Poor Old Lu and was reunited with King in 1996 after POL disbanded and Sprinkle relocated to New York.  After releasing his first solo album, 1999's Roobrick, under the World Inside namesake, Sprinkle produced SHD's first EP in 2000.  The following year, Sprinkle recruited the members of Seven Head Division for work on his follow-up solo record and as a backing group for live shows. 

Like Roobrick before it, Sprinkle's portion of Untitled trades the driving alternative rock of Poor Old Lu for a decidedly softer set of musical stylings.  Songs like "To Be Loved" and "Alandrae" are built upon an engaging combination of melodic modern rock and alternative folk-pop.  "Old Home" and the equally enjoyable "September" augment that amalgam with elements of emo and jangle-pop, respectively. And the sparse, arpeggiated nylon-stringed guitar work on the best-of-album "Soft Song" lends the track an almost classical aesthetic.  The members of Seven Head Division, on the other hand, forge a distinctly harder-edged musical alloy.  "Doubt and all of Thee Above" appropriates the meaty, riff-driven hooks of '70s classic rock and places it against a raw, loosely-structured backdrop reminiscent of late '60s proto-punk.  "Value" nudges that same rock/punk fusion into a more atmospheric, yet equally spirited, dream pop vein.  And the band's inherent sense of energy shines equally brightly on "Monday Morning," a delightfully animated alternation between punk-inflected modern rock and brisk Beatlesque pop. 

Lyrically, the Seven Head Division section of the release gets a slight nod. As with Roobrick, Sprinkles wording tends toward the oblique and, while such an approach certainly holds a certain amount of initial charm, ten songs worth tend to render the album's underlying subject matter a bit impenetrable.  The lyrics of SHD, on the other hand, are set forth in a much more straightforward fashion.  But the group members possess a poignant and economical writing style that steers their songs well clear of the triteness that often accompanies such a direct lyrical approach.  On the musical side of the coin, Sprinkle's allotment of songs, with very few exceptions, sport an impressive melodic content and sublime pop sense.  The Seven Head Division entries, on the other hand, frequently fall victim to an overly dissonant, disjointed quality that lessens their impact somewhat..  Taken as a whole, though, both artists have contributed a wealth of first-rate material to the release,  making such objections as much nitpicking as they are substantial. Indeed, the song suites from both Sprinkle and Seven Head Division offer ample testimony to the talent involved and combine to make Untitled a largely satisfying endeavor.

Bert Gangl 12/9/2001

First Summer on Earth
The World Inside

Sequence of Events
Seven Head Division

Two groups on one disc - the connection here is that Joel Votaw (bass) and Brian Moore (guitar on both, vocals on Sequence of Events) appear on both selections.

The World Inside is basically Jesse Sprinkle (vocals, guitars, drums, piano) and guests.  The CD has almost a British alternative pop feel to it, although Sprinkle is hard to pin down to one style.  His voice varies from Moody Blues to John Lennon to EMF.  At one point, he has an ethereal, almost Michael Penn-like tone.

"To be loved" has a familiar rhythm, almost like a Counting Crows song, although Sprinkle's vocals are of higher quality than Adam Duritz.  This sums up the first seven songs on the CD - an alternative slant.  Tracks 8-10 are wildly different from the others.

"Do you lie?" opens with heavy metal guitars, then slides into almost a hardcore section.  "calls" begins with an EMF-style piano intro and then is a series of answering machine messages over background music.  This is not particularly amusing, or original, having been done by Chagall Guevara ("The Wrong George"), and more recently by Poundhound ("Rise and Shine").

Overall, Sprinkle does a quality job of vocals, and his unpredictability adds something to this disc.

Seven Head Division does tracks 11-16 on this disc.  Although it seems as if this is just an EP tucked away at the end to fill space, Sequence of Events should not be ignored.  Brian Moore's vocals have an alternative/hard rock sound to them, while the music recalls Smashing Pumpkins.

"Value" asks us to "pray for me, I'm on my way," as Moore pleads for help in the style of Gavin Rossdale (Bush).   "Song for the Cycles" has a Radiohead feel, while "Monday Morning" reminds me of Silverchair.  "To be Healed" is much the same, sounding like a mixture of Bush, Smashing Pumpkins, and Stone Temple Pilots.

Obviously, I think Seven Head Division stands up to a lot of what is featured on today's radio stations.

Brian A. Smith 1/5/2002


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