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4 out of 10
Anarbor kick off their new EP, Free Your Mind, with less a statement of intent and more a polite invitation to rock, mildly. There's a bit of light distortion, there are some crashing cymbals and some truly insipid lyrics. Apparently, so goes the last lyric of the song, Anarbor are about to let the games begin. Unfortunately, these games are more comparable to the South Asian Tiddlywinks Championship than the Olympics.
This EP has about as much punch, and, for want of a better word, rockiness, as a damp tea-towel. If you liked The Academy Is. but always found them a bit heavy for your liking, this is the record for you. This EP contains far too much 'filler', this is a crime on an LP but an absolute travesty on an EP. Containing 7 tracks, there is perhaps one or two that I would not skip. Particularly guilty in this instance is the crushingly dull Halfway Sober and the lyrically ground-breaking You and I, perhaps the first instance of a song that has made "oooh oh" not only immensely uncatchy but also able to accurately predict the cries of agony I emitted stabbing myself in the leg with my pen while listening to it.
So let's talk about the flashes of inspiration, or at the very least the mildly positive.Passion for Publication is the best song on the EP as it is the one song that packs slightly more a of a punch and is genuinely catchy. EP opener Free Your Mind has moments where it reminds me of the vastly superior Rory, which can only be a good thing. But really this EP spends far too long on simmer and never really reaches the boil. It has moments where it threatens to spark into life but then dies out with a bit of whimper.
It seems like, while pop-rock albums of a few years ago had an obligatory acoustic song, there is now a trend to write at least song about "the scene" and how this band doesn't want to be part of it. Singing about eschewing fashion trends, demonic record labels and basically living the DIY ethic has become common place. While singer Slade Echevarria might want to let me know how he feels about this, truthfully there is only so long I can stomach him telling me that Music is what you hear/and not what you see because I am really not hearing too much.
So when Slade presciently asks on the album closer, So what the fuck happened to rock and roll I can't help but think maybe it is a question he should have asked himself.
An EP to avoid.
1. Let the Games Begin
2. The Brightest Green
3. Where the Wild Things Are(Monsters)
4. Halfway Sober
5. You and I
6. Passion for Publication
7. Always Dirty, Never Clean