Anchors Away Mateys!

If you had to guess, you would probably say that The Anchorage hails from Alaska, but in fact, they are from Salt Lake City, Utah. The Anchorage is made up of 6 members and has been playing since 2010. Their previous releases include a demo (Overkill), a 3-song EP (Speak Your Mind) and a full length album (Bridges). The latest effort by the self-proclaimed alternative rock/ska band is another LP, this time entitled Regrow. Pushing play…

1. “0.36”-The Anchorage start things off with either a very short stand-alone song or an intro to the next song. Either way, it is solid in musicianship with vocal harmonization and an overall emo type feel. Grade: A

2. “Awaken”- Thunderous drums get things going, followed by a big, brassy pop-rock feel. The horns are a definite plus to this otherwise radio-friendly number. Awesome song! Grade: A

3. “Break Free”- “Break Free” has an old-timey circus feel to it. It reminds me a lot of “Lions Roar” by The Hush sound, but with more edge. Grade: B+

4. “0.47”-Ooh, another intro song, but this time with Spanish flavor. Great stuff! Grade: A

5. “Lost in Lies”- As in other songs, the horn section is dynamic and cannot go unnoticed. The greatest part about “Lost in Lies” is the switching between not only traditional ska guitar, but several other guitar rhythms. I also appreciate the abrupt ending as well. Grade: A

6. “Say Goodbye”-The Anchorage pulls the old bait and switch by starting out as a relatively harder tune and then quickly switching to a more horn-infused alternative number. There is also a dash of ska thrown in for good measure. Musically, there is a lot going on here. Grade: B

7. “Deep Sleep”- Much like “Say Goodbye” this song switches between alt-rock and ska effortlessly throughout the song. The Anchorage keeps stackin’ up the hits! Grade: A-

8. “0.40”-A stripped down intro song with excellent harmonization! Grade: A

9. “Manipulation”- Derek Harman belts things out a little bit more on “Manipulation” then on any other song, giving it a definite rock edge. This pairs nicely with the blaring horn section. Grade: A
10. “Stereotype”- Overall, this tune is slightly slower, much in the vain of “Break Free.” I really dig the low roar of the organ and percussion towards the end. Grade: B

11. “0.41”-The last of the intro songs starts with an acoustic guitar, making it a stripped down kind of song. The horn section comes onto the scene with a slower tempo making you wonder if the next song will be more of the same, or this is “the calm before the storm.” Grade: B+

12. “Who You Are”- This next ditty brings a kind of a cool swankiness to the mix, while once again incorporating the classic ska guitar sound. What else can I say, it is a great tune! Grade: A-

13. “The Darkest Day”- “The Darkest Day” presents a nice contrast to the last song with harder guitars. In fact this is the closest thing to ska-punk this band comes to on this album. Grade: B+.

14. “Growing Apart”- Let’s slow things down again with this song. I’m not sure whether to classify this as ska or reggae rock. There is also a rare guitar solo found near the midway point. This is a solid song. Grade: A-

15. “Regrow”- The Anchorage flips things on their ear by ending with the title track instead of opening. Regrow is more of the same, a blend of alternative licks, smooth vocals and blaring horns. Grade: B+

One could spend days, if not weeks discussing the myriad of reasons why ska music has not gotten the attention or radio airplay it deserves. One reason for this is this country’s love affair with pop music. I feel that what truly separates underground artists vs. truly popular musicians is that “pop factor” of their music. This can be seen is anything from straight up rock to punk, and even hip-hop. Heck, even county music nowadays is not the country music listened to by our parents and grandparents. It is merely pop music with a twang. I do not address this as a positive or a negative point; merely just an observation. So where does ska fit in. Since most ska (I said most, not all) sounds either too much like reggae, or too punky, or too silly, it does not appeal to the masses. In turn, this leaves the ska genre in the dust. It is only when ska is blended with another form a music that have been battletested and have mass appeal will it truly make a name for itself. Enter: The Anchorage. While there certainly is punk inspiration in some of their music, I think their self-description of being an alternative rock/ska band is a spot on. Alternative rock blends elements of straight up rock with maybe a dash of punk and pop as well, giving it a radio-friendly appeal. Alternative became really big in the 90’s and is still big today with bands like Hoobastank(I know it’s been a while since they had a hit single but they are still around) and Maroon 5. Because of this merging of sounds, The Anchorage can stand toe to toe with any band out there and if anyone could put ska on the map it would be them. Regrow is a fantastic album that is unlike the majority of the stuff that is out right now. While they are labeled as being ‘alternative’ and ‘ska’ there is much more going on here to include sprinklings of punk and emo. The musicianship is excellent, from the constant switching of rhythms to the few, but always appreciated solos. The horns are a standout and present in every song. The organ is is used more subtly, but adds to the completeness of each and every song. Derek Harman’s leading vocal style is definitely easy on the ears and pure joy to listen to. The Anchorage offer the complete package with Regrow. I love this album and I am confident that you will as well.

Overall Grade: A-

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