Review: Earth Anchor – Lioness

earth_anchor

First impressions count. Young bands looking to make their mark in the scene only get so many chances before their time runs out, making every song and every note of the utmost importance. Portland post-hardcore act Earth Anchor has my attention – and it won’t be long before they have yours as well.

There’s something striking and nostalgic about Earth Anchor’s debut, Lioness, that screams familiarity but refuses to blend into the background. Having released two EPs prior, Lioness possesses a fullness and an urgency that pushes it over the top and lets the listener know that the band means business.

On Earth Anchor’s debut, the band wields influence like a sword, injecting a palate of robust and recognizable sounds into Lioness. It’s easy at times to compare the band to a slightly heavier version of early Paramore due to Heather Steele’s powerful and emotive vocals, but Earth Anchor are much more comfortable channeling Worship and Tribute-era Glassjaw across the album’s eight tracks.

Energetic opener “Red Flag” declares as much with its wild guitars that sound reminiscent of “All Good Junkies Go to Heaven”. This isn’t a carbon copy; it’s an honorable nod to the band’s predecessors as guitarist Kevin Carafa riffs away. “No Progress” is a slow burn with a killer chorus, as Steele sings, “This is a calling for another chance to redeem myself / This opportunity won’t be so wasted”.

This concept of redemption and battling against the odds runs deep throughout Lioness. On “Choice”, Steele’s vocals are resilient and powerful over Saosin-inspired guitars as she sings, “With your hands over your eyes, you can’t really expect / To be right as rain when filled with such neglect”. “Animal” channels a similar fervor with swirling guitars during the song’s chorus, but it’s Andrew Carreon’s drums that drive the track forward.

Lioness rarely looks back or takes its foot off the gas pedal as Earth Anchor use every moment they’re given to display another weapon in their arsenal. “Fake” finds a Further Seems Forever-esque intro bleed into a poppy chorus. A sweet breakdown during the song’s bridge, coupled with layered vocals, make this a particularly fantastic and emotional track. Earth Anchor only stop to take a breath with “Nova”, a smooth and calm musical interlude with ambient synthesizers and gentle guitars.

Lioness’ journey culminates with “Enemy”, a revealing closer that exposes the antagonist as ourselves. “If you’re backed into a corner, then why aren’t you fighting?”, Steele asks before the song’s explosive chorus finishes with the defiant line of, “I’m never going back!” The track ends with a ghostly echo of, “Don’t go back” over the top of an ambient keyboard line.

Whether they’re conjuring up memories of All We Know is Falling or unleashing energy reminiscent of Translating the Name, Earth Anchor have a little something for everyone on Lioness. The band use their debut as an opportunity to flex their muscles and showcase their diverse range, all while creating something fresh and ear catching. It’s not a means to an end, it’s a call to take notice. Any band looking for a blueprint for a breakthrough would be wise to take heed.

4/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

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