Album Review: Naturally 7 – Hidden in Plain Sight (Vox Maximus Vol. 1)

March 31, 2015

IMG_8749With the upcoming film sequel to the 2012 movie “Pitch Perfect” coming out this year, and the recent popularity of Pentatonix and the NBC show The Sing-Off, a cappella music has evolved from barbershop, street corner music, to pop mainstream, many times mashing up well known radio hits with other radio favorites to create something new.  Naturally 7 brings that same sensibility to their material.

Although the group has been together since 1999, “Hidden in Plain Sight” is their first US release, previously with EMI Germany, they are currently with Hidden Beach Records, distributed by Epic Records.

Like Take 6 and Boys II Men, Naturally 7 is an all male a cappella group with gospel and jazz influences, evident from their song “Soldier Down” and “Keep The Customer Satisfied”, but they are willing to occasionally incorporate vocal effects and vocal samples, like their song “Galileo” featuring Freddie Mercury’s unmistakable vocals as well as the rest of Queen taken from “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Their first single “Fix You”, which is their take on the 2005 Coldplay song, is an emotional tune that challenges the listener to help “fix” someone they love.  Their label, Hidden Beach, late last year ran a YouTube campaign, asking listeners to share their stories of overcoming odds through the power of love, and incorporated the footage in their music video.

Understanding that it’s a completely a cappella album, songs like “Civil War” showcases  Warren Thomas excellent vocal percussion work combined with Kevin Deane and Roger Thomas’ production.

Songs that I would drop money for on this album would include “The Push” and “Fix You”.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.  This is not their best album, however they do have a lot of great material that you can find on their website.  We think the choices on this album may have been the label’s desire to reach a wider audience, however they should have kept with the band’s old formula; if your core following loves it, stick to your bread and butter.  To check them out, head here: www.naturallyseven.com

Side note: A band shouldn’t make themselves into cartoon characters unless their music or lifestyle paints them as larger than life.  It worked for Wu-Tang and for KISS, but in the case of Naturally 7, not sure it was the brightest of marketing ideas.