One could make a convincing argument that 7 Seconds’ The Crew was one of the most influential yet underrated records of the American hardcore movement. Released in 1984 when a lot of the bigger names in the scene were starting to expand musically, The Crew exploded in the ‘burbs – here was a band with a melodic yet aggressive sound that spoke out against racism, sexism, and bullying, even closing with “Trust,” a love song, a rarity in hardcore. This was music for kids who liked loud, aggressive music, but didn’t want to be a part of the Sid Vicious cartoon image a lot of punk still portrayed.
You could identify the Descendents as the originators of pop-punk, but 7 Seconds would be a strong second influence. More melodic hardcore/punk bands like Gorilla Biscuits, Dag Nasty, or Face to Face all have elements of 7 Seconds’ sound, specifically the sound they perfected on The Crew – an earnest, open hearted vocalist with huge hooky choruses made for audience participation. While bands like SSD or Negative Approach wanted to bludgeon the listener and presented an Us vs. Them mentality, 7 Seconds created a sense of inclusion and positivity – all were welcome to sing along.
Trust Records has reissued The Crew The Crew on vinyl as their second release, and it is a thing of beauty. As with their recent reissue of Circle Jerks’ <Group Sex,</i>, it includes a 20 page booklet jammed with rare photos and flyers and testimonials from artists of all stripes. The booklet also acts as an oral history of 7 Seconds up to The Crew, which begs for a longer book treatment. Fun fact – the band was actually disappointed with The Crew, hoping it would sound tougher. The remastering is remarkable – compared to the previous CD version, it has a much better bass tone, the guitars are sharper, and the release is just cleaner overall. But you better jump on it – the red vinyl and the red and black mix sold out before the release date. More importantly for more than just middle-aged collectors, the music is finally available on streaming services for new generations to be inspired.