‘No Anchor’ delivers on every expectation.
Label: No Idea Records
Released: 29th January 2016
“There’s no future living in the past”. Quite. A criticism punk rock has faced for some time. We’re facing backwards, lamenting glorified better times. Ship Thieves, notably featuring Hot Water Music’s Chris Wollard and Samiam’s Chad Darby, have likely been there. You’re only as good as your last band(s), and it’s a tough act to follow.
Having travelled the familiar road of swapping out power chords for country, to come back and make a straight up punk record feels defiant. ‘No Anchor’ carries that straight from storming opener ‘Middle Man’, a track that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Movielife album. An undoubtedly good thing. The Americana vibe is stepped back and it’s all the better for it, but not completely abandoned, with plenty of southern-tinged guitar lines (‘Rotations’, ‘Dark Days’).
One of the real highlights, ‘Born Into This’, sounds like it was written solely with the brief of serving as a backdrop for PBR-fuelled singalongs; melodic, poppy and more than a little reminiscent of Against Me! in their best moments.
If the kind of driving, anthemic gruff punk that Gainesville (and specifically No Idea Records) is known for is your thing then you’re going to love ‘No Anchor’. Sure, it doesn’t diverge very far from a well-established formula, drenched in nautical references, but it’s a solid record with some great moments. Will it fill a Hot Water Music shaped hole in your life? Probably not, and perhaps it wasn’t meant to, but it certainly delivers on every expectation. Kristy Diaz