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EP Review: Speaking In Shadows – The Anchor

“We don’t like to think of ourselves in comparison to other artists or bands… It’s hard to pitch your own music against the music of others, especially when you’re looking to pave your own path…This EP has taken us back to our roots – no agendas, no concepts, no gimmicks. We’re writing music that excites and inspires us, and hope that our songs will not only engage and entertain our listeners, but also empower and encourage them to find inspiration of their own.”

There are many reasons to like the new EP from Speaking In Shadows but that quote from guitarist Ali Carvell gave me one before I’d even hit play on the music. This site vales doing your own thing almost above everything else so it was absolutely awesome to read that.

Speaking In Shadows first seriously crossed my radar when I reviewed their track Capsized which served as the lead single from this project around a month ago. Something grabbed me back then and by the time I pressed play on The Anchor it still hadn’t let go.

As well as being the lead single, Capsized also gets the EP underway and the track still packs a furious punch. It hits you right between the eyes straight from the go and carries you along on a bed of hammering drums and swirling guitars for the next 3 and a half minutes. I still think that the chorus on this tune is the real thing that just elevates it above so much of what’s out right now; it’s pure money in my eyes.

Scatter carries a slower guitar jangling intro but it soon launches into life and picks up where the previous track left off. It might seem a strange thing to say but there are some absolutely mega backing vocals throughout the chorus and it’s those which must surely cement this one as a real crowd pleaser when played live. The contrast against the slower, stripped back section with its rolling drumbeat is great touch and this is simply a really good, well rounded track.

I don’t want to sound down on following track Figure Of Eighty because I’m not, but it just doesn’t get me out of seat like other tracks on the record. Despite the fantastic intensity on the vocal from Adam Smith it just feels like a track of classic alt-rock fare. Maybe I’m setting my expectations too high, I don’t know. There’s nothing wrong with the track I just want more, having said that I fully expect to have to change my mind when I hear it live.

Now for all that I found the previous track a bit safe, Bite is absolutely majestic. For all intents and purposes the band go full hard rock and the results are immense. I’m a big fan of the opener but this track is my favourite on the record. For lack of a better phrase… it just straight up bangs! From the short drum solo intro, to the grittier guitars, to the mega hook to a guitar solo Mark Tremonti would be proud of. From front to back I’m all over this track!

Penultimate effort And Grit feels like a bridge between the EP’s alt-rock beginnings and its new found balls to the wall style. My God those drums from Grant Sketchley hit so beautifully hard. I’d definitely be on board for the band venturing more into this more ‘hard rock’ style in the future, their sound is certainly big enough and Smith’s vocal has more than enough power to carry it.

For final tune Easy For You the band almost return to the beginning with another solid alt-rock offering. My only real criticism is that it felt too long, almost as if the band were intent on putting together a epic closing track no matter what and as a result it feels like the song treads water a bit in the final third, but other than that once again it’s hard to find fault with what’s on display.

When I sat down to review The Anchor I was fully expecting to get just your standard alt-rock record, (The kind of which are ten-a-penny at the minute) but I’m so pleased to say that this EP is so much more than that. I am now convinced that these guys have a straight hard rock record in them but the way which they blend that harder edge with their bread and butter of soaring choruses here is fantastic.

The truth is that whichever way you care to break it down The Anchor is a brilliant beast of the record and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this band. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.

The Anchor is out now.

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