Album Review: Anchors - 'Lost at the Bottom of the World'

23 July 2012 | 7:27 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

A big dirty smack in the face, in the best possible way.

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Amid a growing number of talented Australian bands around at the moment, Melbourne punk outfit Anchors is leading the pack. After receiving an overwhelmingly positive response to their 2010 release, Bad JuJu, the band’s follow-up, Lost at the Bottom of the World, is likely to garner similar praise. Not content to be just another shitty jaded punk band, Anchors’ latest record once again showcases the band as proficient musicians, and while less overtly aggressive and more melody-driven than its predecessor, the record loses none of the band’s trademark intensity.

The album’s intro, ‘Death Rattle’, rolls naturally into ‘Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy’ – a typical Anchors track that sets the tone for Lost at the Bottom of the World, fast-paced and vocally impressive. ‘Break Classic’, a cleverly constructed anthem, is arresting from the start, swiftly fusing punk and hardcore elements without strain. The track gradually trickles into gentle guitar, breaking down into silence before leaping back into action for one last heavy-hitting chorus.

Tour Dogs’ maintains the energy of the album’s previous tracks, but takes a more laidback approach. On the other hand, ‘Cold Snap’, reckless and punchy, is an absolute high point of the record, with the song’s catchy chorus heightened by thumping drums and slick guitar work.

High and Low’ flies by, but with disconcerting lyrics that repeat the notion of having a sinking feeling in the back of your head, and an "uneasy acceptance that nothing’s ever gonna be alright", the song, and its painfully brilliant vocal performance, leaves a strong and enduring impact.

There’s nothing better than a song exhibiting pure hatred for someone – especially when skilfully teamed with thrashing guitars and roaring vocals – so it’s pleasing to hear that Anchors haven’t completely lost their contempt for humanity. This is glaringly apparent on ferocious tracks ‘Grimes’ and ‘Safety First, Then Teamwork’. Let’s face it, everyone can relate to the brutally honest lyrics of the latter, pertaining to hating someone to the point where you liken their voice to a drill in the back of your fucking skull. Forcefully belted out phrases like, "I can’t stand a fucking thing about you" and "I can’t believe that anybody puts up with you, I guess they don’t know the you that I do" drive home the message that, yes, Anchors and frontman Brett Horsley, really fucking hate you.

Closing track ‘New Limit’ is a departure from the record’s overall sound, but is no less satisfying. The song demonstrates both musical and vocal restraint, resulting in a melodic, almost delicate track, and provides a befitting end to the album.

With each track on Lost at the Bottom of the World melting perfectly into the next, Anchors have succeeded in serving up a chaotically cohesive album, jam-packed with dynamic songs, easily accessible through savagely sincere lyrics. Even tunes that aren’t instantly gripping, like ‘From Miles Above’ and ‘Lazarus Sign’, add to the general scheme and consistency of the record. Lost at the Bottom of the World, an album funded entirely by Anchors, achieves a clean and polished sound, without ever coming across as overproduced, and the soaring highlights far outweigh any minor discrepancies here.

1. Death Rattle
2. Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy
3. Break Classic
4. Tour Dogs
5. Cold Snap
6. Safety First, Then Teamwork
7. High and Low
8. From Miles Above
9. Lazarus Sign
10. Grimes
11. Coastlines
12. New Limit