Anna’s Anchor – Everybody’s Welcome (Failure By Design Records, 2018)

Wow. This crept up on me seemingly from nowhere. Anna’s Anchor is the name Irish singer / songwriter Marty Ryan performs and records under. As this is a full band endeavour, I’m admittedly a bit confused by certain aspects of the press material. I’m unsure whether Anna’s Anchor should be considered to be a full band, or just the one guy that has composed and arranged this… and a bunch of session musicians for example. As far as I can make out, Everybody’s Welcome is the third full length from Anna’s Anchor, and the first for Failure By Design.

I’m totally taken by surprise by this, to be honest. Marty has a big, bold, strong and clear voice which is oddly reminiscent of Roddy Woomble from Idlewild or Joe Barlow from Don Blake. It’s rich in emotion and doesn’t come across as forced or contrived in any way (which all too often can be easy pitfalls to succumb to). It’s compelling and soulful stuff.

Although I’ve clearly referenced Idlewild already, from a musical perspective it’s easy to draw comparisons to works such as 100 Broken Windows and The Remote Part. The musical influences at play here are not limited to the Scottish indie punk heroes, however. The writing here seems to have a strong grounding in the wave of emo that surfaced around the late 90s early 2000s, and I’ll cite works such as Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity, Hey Mercedes’ Loses Control and Benton Falls’ Guilt Beats Hate for example. I’d even throw stuff like Tiger’s Jaw and Tiny Moving Parts for good measure.

To be frank, as I listen through this clearly very personal record, I’m feeling more and more surprised and amazed that this Limerick born singer is not being upheld as Western Europe’s bright hope for not just emo influenced indie rock, but rock music in general. If you can’t imagine quite why I’m heaping praise like this on the guy, then you need to have a couple of solid uninterrupted listens to this opus on the player below. Tony of Nurgle rating: 9/10

This album is available on green vinyl (pressing of 250), CD or digital download from the Failure By Design bandcamp page

Tony of Nurgle is a true child of the North, currently living in exile in Croydon, South East London. He used to co-run a specialist record store in Manchester (Roadkill Records), and also spent a couple of years as a promoter, and put on shows for the likes of Leatherface, the Loved Ones, Lucero, Minus The Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, Spy vs Spy, Latterman etc. He also spent several years DJing at shady rock clubs in Manchester, and started the infamous Thursday night "punk room" at Jilly's Rockworld. Also responsible for Middle Finger Response, and collaborated with a couple of friends on a monthly night called Refuse to Lose, which will still occasionally reunite the original DJ line-up - hopefully in the not too distant future. Apart from that, it's all bitterness and a jaundiced view of human nature, rarely skateboarding, often reading books with maps in the front.

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