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Seven Eleven - Breaking Down the Wall

Seven Eleven
Breaking Down the Wall
by Dani Bandolier at 30 July 2020, 4:07 AM

SEVEN ELEVEN (1997) is a project that was recorded and produced by Frankfurt, Germany music entrepreneur Ulli Ullmann in 1997. The album “Breaking Down the Wall” was written by Bernd Heil, crack singer, guitarist, founder and head of SEVEN ELEVEN, at the time the most successful cover band in Germany. Ullmann commissioned Bernd Heil to do two things - 1. write songs and 2. put together a rock band. Not just any band, but a kind of European answer to TOTO from the USA. After an expensive slog of over 150 production days in Frankfurt’s Hotline Studios working on this release, Ulli attempted to get the finished product released with a US based record label but was unsuccessful, so the master tapes sat in his basement for 23 years – until now.

‘Hot Shot’ is crosscut number one of the one-two punch of ‘Hot Shot’ and ‘Hot Loving’ and starts off with super filtered rock guitar rhythms that would be quite at home on a euro-rock song tagged with clinched synthesizer blasts punching the clock on the bridge and chorus. I am not sure if there is German language spoken, but I do make out English. ‘Hot Loving’ is very white-bread RAINBOW-ish but competent, and as the chorus reminds us …Hot Lovin’ is the name of the game…‘Dreamer’ is a total ballad with a crystal synth patch I haven’t heard uh, ever but would be found like in the days before cell phones, probably 1980.

‘Get Out of My Way’ is a fun little number, all bubbling chorus, bouncing bass and Roland machine drums with some gnarly guitar rhythm tones. ‘Breaking Down the Wall’ is a jaunty blast of 80’s clockwork synth and pop rocks with vocalist Udo Kohl doing yeoman duty on these cuts. This tune history checks the Berlin Wall coming down in a very literal expression. Who knew the end of German Communism could be so fun? Who didn’t? Listen for the DOKKEN similarities on this song.

‘Children of Delight’ brings the baaaaad funk with a squirrely jumping bass line behind the verses that segues easily into Rawk choruses and a lava lead guitar break. A bit more R&B influence and this song could be mistaken as something from the Motown-Michael Jackson oeuvre. I doth name this song My Favourite Tune. ‘Backstrike’ is a blithe tune that follows the exact same shake yer rump und funk-it formula as the previous song…I guess I’m drownin’ in a sea of love‘I Am in Love’ is again, another song that reminds me a lot of GENESIS at their more pop moments – the production here calls out to this mid 80’s guitar and synth bookend with dual male lead vocals on the standard rock choruses.

Although lacking big radio hits and curiously staying on the pop side of a music genre that was done and over with by over a decade, “Breaking Down the Wall” is a time warp curiosity. This music would be right at home on the old bad guy - bad cop telly drama Miami Vice where Phil Collins and Jan Hammer were regular music contributors. The sound production on “Breaking Down the Wall” is steeped in the wayback machine of electronic music waveforms which still exist on what Billboard classifies as the Adult R&B chart, a region inhabited by ex-rockers, dance cut producers and African American Rhythm and Blues artists that throw down with the best musicians in any other genre. For you 80’s guitar tone hounds, have a good listen to “Breaking Down the Wall”. ‘Big Generator’ and ‘90215’ pitch shifting modulation is all over the place - somebody involved on this recording was a Trevor Rabin era YES fan.

Meaner than a skillet full of rattlesnakes…born on the wrong side of the blanket and naturally horizontal…Dani Bandolier’s  Spotify list of reviewed bands …


Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Hot Shot
2. Hot Loving
3. Dreamer
4. Get Out of My Way
5. Breaking Down the Wall
6. Children of Delight
7. Backstrike
8. I Am in Love
9. Miracle
10. This Time Udo
Udo Kohl - Vocals
Thalia Darkadaki - Vocals
Peter Richter and Hugo Mazuratz - Guitar
Ken Taylor and Michael Harmsen - Bass
Fritz Matzka and Harald Heinl - Drums
Harry Beierle - Keys
Record Label: 7Hard Records


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