As one of the early hardcore bands, 7 Seconds pioneered the sound that gave birth to a lasting subgenre of punk, based around positivity and a fight for equality and human rights. Though the band played and recorded in various incarnations for decades after their 1980 inception, Walk Together, Rock Together stands as their definitive statement of clear-headed purpose and youthful exuberance, as well as one of the blueprints for straight-edge punk and hardcore. This 1986 LP expands the 1985 EP of the same name by combining those studio tracks with a handful of raw live recordings representing side B. Although the album is still relatively short (clocking in at under half an hour), the band manages to speak volumes in its quick, energetic bursts of nascent punk. Studio tracks like "We're Gonna Fight" and "Regress No Way" scream with nonstop energy and bombastically positive sentiments about the struggle of the young to live life their own way and fight small-minded oppressors, racists, and hatemongers. The crisp production by Minor Threat's Ian MacKaye helps clean up some of the rougher edges that stick around on the live tracks, but never detracts from the spontaneity and excitability of the sessions. Rather than coming off as filler, the live material offers a complementary counterpoint for the studio songs. Riled-up tracks like "Still Believe" and "Bottomless Pit" crackle with a spirit of hopefulness, addressing some of the issues of the day in the microcosmic punk scene, such as unity, the integrity of other bands, and the inevitability of getting older. Unfortunately, Walk Together, Rock Together's anthems of teenage punkhood are overlooked for the inclusion of their tongue-in-cheek cover of Nena's pop hit "99 Red Balloons," a competent yet unremarkable tossed-off track that barely applies to the depth and drive of the rest of the album. Along with Group Sex by the Circle Jerks, Out of Step by Minor Threat, and Damaged by Black Flag, Walk Together, Rock Together is an essential chapter of early hardcore, and paved the way for other classics that followed, especially in the youth-positive straight-edge of the Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, Judge, and many others.
Walk Together, Rock Together Review
by Fred Thomas