Coming from the heart of New Orleans is this pack of rebel-rousers known as the Rough Seven, with their blinding, fantastic debut disc Give Up Your Dreams. Containing former members of 9th Ward cult heroes Morning Forty Federation, the new outfit strives for a gutter gospel sound and achieves it winningly. Frontman and axe slinger Ryan Scully brings to the proceedings a voice and guitar filled with vitality and raw emotion. Employing back-up soul singers on every track infuses the effort with a taste of the holy; accentuating the honesty on “Not Insane” and the opening title tune “Give Up Your Dreams”. “Red Hot Cool” burns with passion before scalding with a saxophone solo and the piano punching “Had A Home” leaks modern day mortgage blues. While the silliness and simplicity of the old Morning Forty style hasn’t completely disappeared (“Sugar Daddy”, “Golden Parachute”) the song writing and interplay has certainly flourished with age.
The cuts here that manage to slice the deepest are when Scully puts his soul on display with minimal production as in “St. Anthony” which is a desperate hymn crying out for redemption, all the while smirking, pure New Orleans. The pleading riffs of “Meltdown” and the epic album closer “Good Out Weighs The Bad” glow the brightest and become instant classics. Smoking on the six strings, Scully strives to the forefront and the band follows in multiple directions teetering all over the place; I’ll be damned if you don’t hear a bit of the magic that makes Neil Young and Crazy Horse something special to behold. The Rough Seven make it impossible to Give Up Your Dreams when they are producing music this good.