Friday, 25 May 2018

Anchor & Bear - Anchor & Bear

I spend a lot of time speaking to Californian artists and in my world it's a very Pop orientated environment, whatever is prefixed or added to that Pop title, Psych, Indie, Rock, it's all Pop. But California seems to excel at Sunshine Pop, so it's refreshing to hear a band who explore a bit more.

Ventura's Anchor & Bear were first mentioned to me as a Folk Rock band. I don't hear much of that on the front half of the album. Raincoats And Gold is a melodic joy, hooks ahoy. In fact there's almost half a dozen songs in one when toy listen to the superb opener, Hard To Say You're Sorry.

Having two vocalists certainly helps the variety and the pair's songwriting certainly guides them to who is singing what. Brian Bringelson's vocals lend themselves to the Pop Rock excellence, whilst Katy Pearson provides a different direction.

Her Voice Of An Angel vocals complement the moodier and perhaps Folk moments. Pearson also adds some great moments to the up tempo Pop. The album seems split in to two halves and so would lend itself beautifully to vinyl.

There is a real joyous feel to those first six tracks. Started To Leave is all Mod Pop but with a very 80's Feel, think Style Council or Deacon Blue. Green Shoe Girl as an almost Van Morrison feel in the verse with a killer dual vocal chorus.

Yet, Singer Out Of Work is all Jangle with a splendid Katy Pearson Vocal, it bubbles along beautifully. Mirage borders on Muscle Shoals. Walking Around is all Mod Pop, a cracking slice of UK Beat, a little bit Soul Review.

There is a marked shift in tempo after Walking Around. Words is almost Bluesbreaker territory and from there on, the songs slow down and get moodier. This is no bad thing as the band seem comfortable with whatever they are playing.

Gunfight is in early Eagles territory, Blueprints an acoustic joy and Hard Times is Country Folk at it's finest, it has a wonderful moody Pearson Vocal. The closer, Streetlight, is an absolute belter. It begins as a ballad, the split vocals work beautifully and it even ventures into Psych.

Raincoats And Gold is an exceptional album. It'll certainly be on my end of year list. Hard To Say You're Sorry will open next week's Radio Show. You can listen to and buy the album here.  You can also find out more about the band here.

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