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Anna’s Anchor - 'Everybody’s Welcome' Album Review


1. Executive Summary

2. 8 Hours In Stansted

3. White Washed Corridor

4. Precautionary

5. Four Quarters Interlude

6. 50 States

7. Johnny Cash Was A Punk

8. Summer Camp

9. For The Parish

10. Appendix A B C

I don’t know about you, but I’m a shower kind of person. I can never be bothered with a bath- the idea’s nice, but by the time I’ve got the bathroom to myself, run a bath, and got in it, the moment’s gone, and I’m bored within a couple of minutes. But then, the problem with showers is that it’s all a bit too direct, much less relaxing- you’re blasted with water and then it all runs away, leaving you empty inside; sure, there’s cleanliness, but there’s no nurture. I’d like to see some sort of hybrid shower/bath, where you can be fully immersed within a moment, clean and spiritually refreshed.

Imagine my joy then, when pressing play on ‘Everybody’s Welcome’ and being immediately immersed in sonic gorgeousness- no waiting for this musical bath to be run. The introduction to opening track ‘Executive Summary’ is a gloriously woody, mellow, and rich sound, which continues throughout, without any percussion at all until the gentle crash of cymbals are introduced around the two-minute mark. The cymbals herald the building climax of the track, which sets us up nicely for the much more upbeat ‘8 Hours At Stansted’. The percussion continues to be used to great, and really quite interesting effect in the second track and indeed throughout the album. There are brief moments where it almost seems like the drums, bass and lead have been put together completely at random, before they reconcile beautifully.

There’s a lot of light and shade in this record, it’s not like Marty Ryan has found one particular sound and stuck to it, he’s played around and it keeps you hooked in. There’s a mix of rhythms, tempos and styles which I found intoxicating, from the stomping staccato of ‘White Washed Corridor’ where the verse is accompanied by bass and percussion alone, to the full band on tracks such as ‘Summer Camp’ (which is verging on poppy), the acoustic loveliness of ‘Johnny Cash Was A Punk’, and the lo-fi reflections of ‘For The Parish’ and ‘Appendix A B C’ (the latter of which sounds suspiciously like it was recorded in one go, in a bathroom).

It’s difficult then, to pin a label on Anna’s Anchor, which is always refreshing as a listener, but a pain in the arse for the reviewer. Officially, they’re touted as being Emo/Indie, but there’s more to it than that. There’s a definite Folk sensibility here, but anti-folk also, a little bit of Indie-Rock, with the odd little whimsical sample thrown in for good measure. But really, who cares what pigeon hole this fits into?

Someone much smarter than me once said something to the effect of there being two kinds of music- good music and bad music. ‘Everybody’s Welcome’ is the good stuff, so turn on, climb in, and soak in its beauty.

Review - Jon Stokes

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