Saturday, March 28, 2009

Steel To Dust Reviewed by National Underground

Steel To Dust Reviewed on NationalUnderground.org
"UNDER A ROCK" by Matthew Winters

"Pop punk is not hard to find. Just wander down to your local mall and find the Hot Topic and look in their CD bins. Usually you can find exactly what you are looking for, if that is that what you are looking for. However to find good, honest to God pop punk you have to wander around and dig under some rocks.

A rock that I looked under was in Denver at the Old Curtis Street Pub at the last Blackout Pact show in January, and under that rock I found one of best pop-punk bands out there. Anchor Down, hailing from Portland, Oregon, was that band. They performed at that show with so much energy and vitality that it instantly made me perk up and pay attention to what they were singing. They raced through much of their then unreleased EP, Steel To Dust, and held the crowd’s attention in a sea of very good punk and hardcore that cold night in January. I was a little disappointed after the show when I met and talked with the band to find that their music had not yet been released.

So it was my pleasure to give Steel to Dust a listen when it came out a couple of weeks ago. The album is an unabashed ode to their very much showing pop punk roots. Alex, vocalist, recalls Chuck Regan and Matt Skiba at their most interesting and harmonious, the backing vocals are spot on especially on opener “Bromancing the Stones”, which might boast one of the best punk song titles in recent memory. Bassist Matt, rides high in the mix a lot of the time on the record but it does not detract from the recording, quite the opposite – it brings in elements from earlier pop innovators like Descendents and the band that is their most easily companion player, the now defunct Latterman. Like Latterman, Anchor Down plays fast, easily enjoyable pop punk that is very positive in its nature and unrelenting in its upbeat tempo.

Perhaps the best song on the record is the closer “World War I”. It is the song that every pissed off touring punk band can relate to. After months and months of touring and being angry, tired, and hungry, dealing with “another bullshit parking lot start(ing) to feel like home” and above it all to still be able to sing “These words are our bullets / These chords are our swords / We’re marching in time / We’re waging a war” is pretty impressive and endearing to the listener.

Steel to Dust is not without its flaws. Like any band on a first release when they are doing it DIY it can sound a little flawed and Steel to Dust is victim of that. The lyrics can get a little muffled and distorted at points. The drums on “Never Was a Lessoned Learned (Remember Me)” are really tinny and sound as if the microphones were running a little hot that day. Overall, however, the song writing and the band’s energy make up for any of the flaws that are on the EP.

Anchor Down have a long road ahead of them, a west coast tour coming up and the endless promotion that comes with putting out an EP, but I think that this band will not stay under the rock very long."

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