Album Reviews
Band: Anchor Lane

Title: Casino

Label: R7 Records

It's not every day that an up and coming band can say that one of the biggest names in Rock today has done backing vocals on their new single, and also has them co-writing two tracks on the new album, but Scottish rockers Anchor Lane certainly can!  Aye. the one and only Ricky Warwick lends a hand here, as does the much talented Toby Jepson, who was on hand when it came to the recording of the album at Vale Studios in the Midlands, so double 'RESULT' there, lads!!  It's not as if Anchor Lane have just suddenly appeared, mind you, oh no, they caught people's eyes with their EP 'New Beginning', then have appeared at such festivals as Hard Rock Hell, Download and Isle Of Wight, so there's been some hard work done, which in the long run has led to the release of 'Casino', and if you like your Modern Rock with a story or two to tell, then this is for you.

 

Kicking of with the bass groove that dominates throughout, 'Blood & Irony' tips a hat to the Foo's, especially when the solo hoofs it's way in and lifts the song up a notch from it's quite sombre state, maybes something that Warwick advised them as he co-wrote this one as well, and that Foo touch stays around on 'Fame Shame', a tale of the pathetic need to be be 'someone famous' for doing ... F''' All really, and the traps that you fall into when you get it, Reality TV at it's worst, all put to a blistering guitar-driven hook.  The band hit 'swagger-mode with the hip swaying 'Voodoo', beginning like an up to date Free track, the simple, laid back catchy riff, hook and vocals making you forget that this band are only in their early 20's and shouldn't really sound as good as this, I mean, howay, it's the 2020's now, not the bleedin' 1970's, so get ready to bang your head against the wall all you of a certain age, 'cos title track 'Casino' shimmers n' grooves like something a Rocker version of Austin Powers would've shagged to!! 

 

'Clocks' is a solid guitar-laden rocker that punches it's way along with some hefty drum work in tow, dropping in tempo for a few seconds so we can all catch our breath, then up it goes again for the chorus towards the end, followed by the chugging 'Stone Cold Hearted', the great, haunting intro suddenly cast aside by the stop-start riffage which leads the song on a pulsating path, helped by a smashing meandering bass line. Slowing the tempo down to ballad territory on 'Shell Of Me' the band show glimpses of their tender side, very much like when RHCP did with 'Under The Bridge', the lone minimalistic guitar, gentle vocals subtle bass n' drum combo, all coming together for a classy, lighter-in-the-air song that, if it were any more stripped back, it'd be done for indecency, m'lud!! 

I've got to admit, I ain't a fan of 'Flatline', and it's only 'cos I can't get away with the 'na na na na's' which rule the roost here, maybes I'm too ... erm ... a tad older than the 'yoof' of today, but all I can say is the nifty bass holds it all together, and ... sorry lads, just a personal taste issue surrounding this 'un, but 'Dead Run' ... well, this is more like it!  Holy Undarned Socks, this one pounds away like one of those 'My 600lb Lifers' on a closed burger joint door, the thumping drum/bass intro sets the tone, quickly joined by the gritty vocal/riff and away it goes, a mean n' moody bugger about addictions, which really is the only tone to take on such a subject, which is also co-written by Warwick (backing vocals too!).

Then it feels like the band have suddenly turned into Black Sabbath as the unearthly intro of 'Honey' bellows through on a riff that a certain Anthony Frank Iommi would be proud of! Jeez, this rocks so hard it could give you concussion if it went on any longer, the band not only dipping their toes into Sabbath waters, they're literally skinny-dipping in it, albeit with a modern feel to it, it has to be said, so as the final chords ebb away, you realise .... Christ, was that REALLY a bunch of 20-somethings??!! Makes you bliddy sick it does, and when you see a picture of Conor Gaffney (vocals), Lawrence O' Brien (guitar), Matthew Quigley (bass guitar) and Scott Hanlon (drums), all you can do is put your head in your hands and moan ... 'It's not fair'!!! Great album, lads!


Review by: Robb Baldwin

 

Tracklisting:

1.  Blood & Irony
2.  Fame Shame
3.  Voodoo
4.  Casino
5.  Clocks
6.  Stone Cold Hearted
7.  Shell Of Me
8.  Flatline
9.  Dead Run (ft. Ricky Warwick)
10. Honey

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