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Anchor

Review by Gary Hill

There’s a big movement toward roots music right now. It’s not quite what you’d call “the thing,” but it’s certainly trendy. This act is very much a roots act. The music is old school most of the time, but occasional gets a bit modern. The mix lands between folk and country. The only problem is, there’s just not enough variety to carry through the length of this, so it tends to get a little samey.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Before It's Too Late

A stripped down acoustic treatment makes up this piece. It’s probably about equal parts folk music and country. This is definitely not modern, except in the regard that acts like Mumford and Sons have brought back this kind of roots sound. This could have come out at just about any time in the last 50 or 60 years and have fit into the folk scene.

God vs Evolution
Although this is still set in the same basic territory, it’s more of an intricate number. It’s less stripped back, too. That said, there is more country in the mix on this one than we heard on the opener.
Ways of Love
A much mellower cut, the vocal arrangement and lyrics really sell this one. Beyond that, it’s not that different from the first two pieces.
Heartless
This is one of the best cuts here. It’s not that the whole concept has really changed. This just comes closer to the more modern version of this sound. It’s packed with emotion and energy, too. That all serves to elevate the cut quite nicely.
Nobody to Blame
A song about addiction, this is sad. It’s a mellower, old school folk piece.
The Truth
A very down-home cut, this is good. It’s just all starting to get a bit monolithic by this point.
Ain't No Saint
Now, this is amazing. It’s probably my favorite song of the whole album. It has more of a modern texture. The vocal performance (and the whole song) is packed with magic and emotion. Violin adds a lot to the arrangement, too. This is just so cool.
Civil War Song
This one doesn’t do much for me. Yes, I like the lyrical message it conveys. The fact the musical is stripped back and suitably old world is cool, too. It just leaves me a little less than entertained.
Anchor
Another that kind of misses me, this is okay, but the whole formula is wearing thin. I suppose if this had landed earlier in the set, it would feel stronger.
 
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