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Album Review : Anchor Lane – Call This a Reality

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Review by Ritchie Birnie for MPM

I have followed this band since it’s infancy. They came onto the scene in Glasgow with a bang and instantly found a family and a lot of love.

With a huge amount of support slots they were always to be found live and then with the release of their debut album “Casino” they exploded once again and spread their wings. Every live show just gets better and when you see their many festival appearances they are getting a following with no borders so anticipation for “Call This a Reality” was huge and I can assure fans you are in for a big surprise!

The album opens with first single “Stutter” and if you have heard/seen this you can get a good idea where the album is going. It kind of follows on from “Blood and Irony” from Casino. The album is a new direction for sure. There are loads of indie overtones. The hard edges are gone and the whole thing feels commercial and pristine.

“Ministry” is up next and has a 1980s keyboard opening and drive. Again this sounds as though it was made for radio and I think it will be appealing to a whole new audience. I can imagine this on a Glastonbury stage and it is as catchy as hell.

The Title track is once again punchy and steeped in the Indie vibe. The song is very simple, very effective and loaded with a feeling of the boys in the studio and saying what does this button do.

The heaviest track so far is(yeah, thanks guys, I never spell this correctly) “Nitroglycerin”. It has a Nu Metal feel, definitely early 2000s. Conor’s vocals are clear, Lawrence is on fire as always and this feels like the first song Graeme is pushed on drums. An early runner for best track.

The keyboards are back on “I’ve Been Listening” and this is almost new romantic in it’s endevours. Maybe Midge Ure had a bigger influence on Conor than any of us ever knew. When we leave the 80s top of the pops vibe this rocks out big time.

With simple licks and drums “The Mischievous Song” kicks to life. Conor’s voice is front and centre until it flips into its Indie goto. The breakdown is distorted guitars and catchy rhythms and a little sing along.

“Electric Karma” has a 70s Hendrix feel which is all down to Lawrence and it settles into that flick that runs through the album. The vocals have a punky delivery but far more clean.

“Bitter” is another front runner for track of the album. This has atmosphere, this has emotion and although slow it grabs you by the collar and shakes you for a reaction. A very basic riff, a vocal delivered with bite and then a Muse guitar blast. This one is a winner.

A haunting piano opening greets you on “The Static” and keeps pace on this short instrumental number and is leading you into “Sychophant Disorder”. It does what is says on the tin as this is eclectic and a cacophony of sound. This has a feel that the whole album is trying to portray. The sound is huge and live this could be massive. It has a horror movie soundtrack feel.

Final track and latest single “I Don’t Have Another Soul to Pour” has the fast, scratchy opening I am now getting used to and as it settles I get a feel of early Funeral for a Friend. It is Emo, it is Indie and it takes a bit to get used to.

Call this a Reality is no Casino, in fact I reckon you could play these back to back to someone who has not heard the band and they would not know it is the same band. It is very rare for a band to change so dramatically from their first release. You can tell the producers on both albums had a big influence as Bruce Rintoul is a different beast from Toby Jepson. Bruce knows how effective an Indie vibe can be. It is a huge market but for me there was too much fiddling, too many vocal and guitar distortions. I cannot apologise for my old school rocker approach. Maybe this was just too much of a jump for me in one album.

I have played this many times and it is growing on me and I suspect live these songs will take on a whole new shape so I will wait and see how that unfolds next week at the album launch and hopefully I can get a grasp of the new changes and the new direction.

Anchor Lane are:
Vocals – Conor Gaffney
Guitars – Lawrence O’Brien
Drums – Graeme Newbury

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