Scottish rock band Anchor Lane look like they will be having a busy 2020 and to start that off, their debut album, Casino will be released on 31st January 2020 by R7 Records on CD, digital and Limited Edition 12” inch vinyl picture disc.
In case you have missed this band, they are Lawrence O’Brien (lead guitar), Conor Gaffney (lead vocals, guitar), Matthew Quiqley (bass) and Scott Hanlon (drums) and, for me, any young Scottish band who are not only out there but also writing their own material should be supported no matter what genre of music they are playing. A little earlier this year, I reviewed Anchor Lane’s first single from this album (“Fame Shame”) and as expected, many of the songs from Casino are in similar “sound-space”.
Anchor Lane are a young band, and for someone like myself who has come through all that music of the 60s, 70s and 80s first time round, I often feel that it must be so difficult for any new band to create something new and identifiable as their own sound now, as so much has been done long before they were even born. Then I realise that every new band must not only find their own contemporary musical influences, but also in their own time rediscover what has gone before into their own time, and this album has clear influences of both approaches on it and points the way to many musical directions that this band could explore in more depth in the coming years.
One of those influences for me (at least to my ears) is the already released “Fame Shame” and that driving 1970s sound of The Sweet. It is for some reason often the slower ballads from any rock album that stay in people’s minds for a long time and, here, Anchor Lane have a few interesting ones with “Voodoo” and “Shell Of Me”. It is also nice here to listen to the words of the title track “Casino” and notice that the band have not fallen into the obvious potential trap of a song with this title. As with many albums, there are songs here that are perhaps better live performance ones too, and “Dead Run” (featuring Ricky Warwick) and “Honey” are two that make me want to catch this band next time they play live in Edinburgh.
There are a lot of musical possibilities here in Anchor Lane as a band. At the moment they have that enormous energy in their sound that should belong to a young band, but it will be interesting to see in coming years how some of that rawness is developed into more complex musical structures.
Casino - Track Listing
01. Blood & Irony
02. Fame Shame
06. Stone Cold Hearted
07. Shell Of Me
09. Dead Run (featuring Ricky Warwick)
Review by Tom King