Watching me attempt to put Bill Rutherford in some sort of genre box with a gun to my head would be quite a show. I imagine I would be blurting out obscenities trying to explain that it simply can't be done. Rutherford has bestowed upon us is Seven Long Years, and it is a fully loaded experience. It's theatrical, dramatic, playful and deeply experimental.
Let's start by talking format. There is an adherence to classical structures that keep everything on a cohesive path. These songs have a musical theater quality right down to his vocal style which is well projected and meant to be heard as it should be. He has a lovely voice. These songs are more like productions and flow like movements. There is a lot of participation involved. Nothing is ever very intimate; you are aware of an audience the whole time.
Part of what makes this album so grandiose is the endless list of instruments and samples that are all given their turn to shine. Rutherford had a long list of collaborators and while there may have been a lot of chefs in the kitchen, the broth was by no means ruined. Instead you got to smell and taste everything. It's delightful and the end result is a burst of positive energy.
I think the production aspects played a big role in creating this theater experience and I think it was done very well. Everything is such a jam packed performance that I found myself a little spent by the end of it. It's a lot of high energy, even when the songs attempt to get a little jazzier and more lo-fi.
Somehow I feel as though this album is meant for the stage. I imagine it would make one hell of a musical in one form or another. Basically it comes off as something that is best enjoyed live or at least socially. The lyrics are quaint enough that this could make for a good sing-a-long that would brighten up any party or hell, even a ball game.
Rutherford initially recorded this whole shebang on his own before starting over with all of his collaborators and professional production. I do have to tip my hat to the production on this album, the high end finish perfect. I have no doubt engineering this album was a heavy lifting project and they pulled it off so well, definitely commendable.
He has so many ideas and moods to express, I doubt this is the last we will be hearing from him. I would be very curious to hear something that was a little less theatrical and a little more intimate. However, in the meantime, if you're a fan of big and bright productions, Rutherford has that for you in spades. I could tell immediately there was a lot of love and care put into this album and I want congratulate Rutherford for putting all of these intricate pieces together and making it sound so effortless.
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