Apparently there is no truth in the rumour that the powers that be wanted Brexit to coincide with the release of Anchor Lane's debut album 'Casino', although a bit like Brexit, their eagerly awaited release on Friday 31st January on R7 Records has certainly been well worth waiting for! To coincide, with the album's release, the Scottish Rock band are also holding an album launch at London's The Black Heart in Camden tonight (Thursday 30th January), followed by a headline gig at Bathgate's Dreadnought Rock on Saturday 15th February with support from Quiche & PYRO.
Anchor Lane first came to the public’s attention in 2017 with the release of their 4-track EP 'New Beginning'. Since then, they have toured incessantly scoring notable guest spots with Cheap Trick, Eagles of Death Metal and Tremonti. The band have garnered an impressive reputation as a thrilling and dynamic live act and have notched up significant appearances at renowned Rock festivals including Download, Isle of Wight, Stone Free, Belladrum and Hard Rock Hell.
'Casino' is a sonically exhilarating album from the band who take influences from Royal Blood, Nirvana, Soundgarden and The Foo Fighters. Despite being in their early twenties, there’s a maturity to Anchor Lane’s song writing. They don’t shy away from tackling difficult subjects as 'Casino’s themes include toxic relationships, addiction and the death of a close friend. The album was written by singer Conor Gaffney, guitarist Lawrence O’ Brien, bassist Matthew Quigley and drummer Scott Hanlon in Glasgow and recorded at Vale Studios in the Midlands with renowned rock musician, writer and producer Toby Jepson (Wayward Sons, Gun, Little Angels). Indeed, so the story goes, the album name reflects their gamble of sacrificing their jobs to concentrate on writing the album. Packed with immense sounding up-tempo tracks it showcases the band as exceptional Rock musicians and skilled songwriters.
Perfect opener, 'Blood & Irony', the first of two tracks co-written with Black Star Riders legend Ricky Warwick, with its hook-driven grungy feel, builds to a rip-roaring crescendo, a triumvirate of guitar solo, fuzzy guitar and intoxicating howling vocals, that immediately showcase Gaffney’s prowess as a frontman. The first single taken from the album 'Fame Shame', is much more than a raucous up-tempo Rock track, given its Punky, catchy riff and fist pumping chorus of "We Don't Care!" - think The Offspring - although Warwick's influences come to the fore mid-section with trademark Lizzy/Wishbone guitar harmonies. The official music video was filmed in the band’s hometown of Glasgow with director Ross Boag (Biffy Clyro, Twin Atlantic and Fatherson) whose aim was to capture the raw energy of the band’s live performance - Fame Shame's message condemning society’s fascination with technology and social media.
'Voodoo's Bad Company/Free Blues Rock vibe intro heralds another well constructed track that most certainly keeps the '70's alive and kicking, again not only showcasing the versatility of Gaffney's voice but also some spellbinding guitar from O'Brien, as is another card up their sleeve, the album's title track, another slice of 70's Rock, with its subtle twist of distorted vocal/wah guitar plus great backing vocals. Almost halfway through and there's not let up in the quality with 'Clocks', time for some more glorious, wholesome, head banging guitar riffage and great vocals, welcomely complemented by some neat mid-section keys.
Don't be fooled by the slower intro to 'Stone Cold Hearted' which nicely develops into a Creed meets The Feeling hybrid - sort of Heavy Rock lite - whilst 'Shell Of Me' is another slow opener that delightfully takes things down a gear with another great vocal/distorted guitar, proving that the guys can certainly mix it up a bit. Despite its misleading title, 'Flatliners' is a refreshing, catchy, up-tempo Heavy riffing Punk Pop singalong that just gets better and better with repeated plays.
Hanlon's pounding opening drums on their latest single 'Dead Run' - the incredibly catchy stadium Heavy Rock track which touches on the subject of addiction - is the second track co-written by Ricky Warwick, who also lends backing vocals to the chorus. And talking of Warwick, the Black Sabbath Country sounding underbelly on the quirky 'Honey', brings the album to a fitting close. Indeed, 'Casino' sweats all the passion of William Wallace, with their proverbial balls of Rock under their kilts. Time will tell, as to what other cards they have hidden up their sporrans, but with 'Casino', there is no doubt that the gamble has paid off.