Anchor by My Politic Is a collection of folk songs sung in tight, authentic harmonies over a variety of instrumentation. It’s presented in a laid back way with tape hiss, coughs and other noises present, which adds to the calm ambience of the band.
The Jackson Browne-ish vocal of lead singer Kaston Guffey melds well with the harmonies from Nick Pankey and Wilson Conroy, never overwhelming the melody but instead filling out the frequencies. The sparse instrumentation is nice throughout the album, from the banjo driven songs “Before It’s Too Late” and “Heartless” to the Paul Simon-esque guitar that weaves over the organ of “Ways Of Love.”
“Civil War Song” which is a quick but poignant song, opens with the melody on the guitar before a fiddle takes over the solo with whole note double-stops. “Nobody To Blame” is similarly stripped down with tasteful dobro breaks throughout. “The Truth” is a country waltz led by the mandolin.
“God Vs. Evolution” has lots going on between dobro slides and mandolin trills, and gets a little hectic in the instrumental sections, each instrument competing for its moment. “Ain’t No Saint” has a beautifully mournful fiddle, but the drums get too busy in the tom fills. The title track which closes the album, a Brown Album-era Band-like song has a similar issue of being too busy on the drums, though the bass lines really drive the song (as well as the mandolin-led bridge).
The songwriting is quite good as are the vocal and instrumental performances. The album in general lacks some of the dynamics that seem evident in the performance, which however could be the mastering. It would be nice to hear the tasteful volumes and intensities that seem to be happening by the band to really let the songs and performances swell.
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