Anchors is a five-piece, Melodic Hardcore/Pop-Punk band from Melbourne, Australia that was founded in 2008. In their four years of activity, they’ve released two albums: 2010's well-received Bad Juju and the new Lost At The Bottom Of The World. Whereas most bands struggle in finding a way to keep their sound while still experimenting on future albums, Anchors came upon the perfect balance of the two in Lost At The Bottom Of The World.
Opener Death Rattle provides a crash-course in the band’s fortified sound: pounding drums and catchy yet driving guitars make the 43 seconds fly fast and directly into Everything’s Amazing And Nobody’s Happy. A familiar Punk beat keeps the pace quick and seamless while the guitars rip through the song, distorted and fast. The highlight of the song, however, is its fantastic bridge that brings out the Hardcore side of the band, keeping things varied and entertaining to listen to.
Break Classic shows that Punk Rock isn’t just about power chords. The guitar-work shines in this song with varied, technical riffs and dissonant chords, all of which are played at a fast pace. When the song finally does take a break, the guitars duel for a great bridge that feels too early. Combating that inkling before the listener can even realize it, Anchors throws in a soft, secondary bridge that seemingly fades out to nothingness and then hits back with anthemic vocals and bright chords.
The Hardcore-esque Tour Dogs is just that: a fast-paced Punk song with a classic riff that extremely catchy verses while remaining heavy. Here, the seamlessness of Anchors’ blending of Hardcore and Pop-Punk declares itself as more than just a gimmick. The two solos of the song blaze melodically while not detracting away from the rest of the music, complementing it just the way it should. Cold Snap keeps the pace strong, but ups the ante in terms of catchiness. The vocal melodies are incredible while the chorus will quickly want to make the “one million voices” sing along.
Safety First, Then Teamwork is an aggressive, screw-you tune that features fantastic vocals. The gruff side comes out and fits perfectly with the lyrics, delivering the anger from the narrator to his target: “‘cause I can’t stand a single thing about you / I can’t believe that anybody likes you.” The lyrics might be a weak string in terms of their eloquence, but they get the job for what the song is trying to convey.
The most “Anchors-y” track off the record is easily the punchy, pessimistically hopeful High And Low. At just under three minutes, the song shows off multiple fantastic basslines and a catchy, sing-along bridge. Next, From Miles Above recalls Tour Dogs in terms of its Hardcore riffs and backup vocals, both gang and regular. Yet whereas Tour Dogs has solos and the blending of Pop-Punk and Hardcore, From Miles Above is straight-up Melodic Hardcore that is made to mosh to.
Lazarus Sign is where the album starts to feel a bit long. Although the entirety of Lost At The Bottom Of The World is about 33 minutes, this song feels unnecessary. It sounds extremely similar to a majority of the first half of the album. Luckily, this feeling evaporates in under two minutes into Grimes. Grimes is the epilogue to Safety First, Then Teamwork in regards to both its content and its sound. It’s a tried-and-true, Hardcore song about being pissed off at someone.
The penultimate song, Coastlines, is classic Hardcore played by Anchors. The first ten seconds of the jam are built up in suspense until a quick drum break, at which point Anchors sounds like no other band playing. The verses are catchy, the solo is excellent, and the repeating lines for the last half of the song will have the entire room chanting along at their shows. While the song fades off into feedback and silence, the album seems like it’s finished. Here is where an entirely new sound rears its head: New Limit is easily one of the poppier songs on the record (or even in Anchors’ discography), but its also one of the best. The pace is slowed down and the gruff voice of frontman Brett Horsley is lost. Here his voice soars sadly, yet in the greatest way possible as the rest of the band builds up into the final, emotionally hard-hitting minute of Lost At The Bottom Of The World.
Bands’ sophomore records, for the most part, are scrutinized to separate the one-hit wonders from the ongoing bands. They tell the listener whether the band still has something to say or play. Anchors’ Lost At The Bottom Of The World definitely cements Anchors as a band to be reckoned with and on the lookout for in the future. Australia is too tiny to hold this band’s--and its record’s--excellence from the world.
Written by Joe Wasserman