Why do I feel that the word acoustic strikes a chord of distaste with rock fans? People won’t scoff at the one or two soft ballads that appear to help build a complete album, but if a rock artist dare release an album of mainly acoustic guitar songs—the world might as well just end. With their first official full length release, super-group Anywhere display the type of raw power the acoustic guitar is capable of.
Co-opting the acoustic guitar style from his current incarnation as Liquid Indian, former Triclops! guitarist Christian Eric Beaulieu is joined by The Mars Volta/At The Drive-in vocalist, Cedric Bixler-Zavala to make up the core of this throw back psychedelic rock experiment. Bixler-Zavala does front the vocals on most of the albums middle section, but this all started out as an instrumental project, with the wild haired front man behind the drum kit. The formidable Mike Watt of The Minutemen and The Stooges lays down the bass structure, while the former singer of Sleepy Sun, Rachel Fannan brings her soft voice to a track or two.
After a single run through of the self titled release, one single through stuck in my head—Anywhere sounds like the result of a group of Native Americans camped out in the desert recording their interpretations of instrumental Tool songs, peyote in-hand. Subsequent listens started to open up the playing field as I was able to focus on the full range of sounds being offered. Yes, as previously stated, this album is heavy on the acoustic guitar (a pretty powerful one at that) but it has much more layered into the experience. The solid, strumming guitar styling is a sword that stabs through the entire album, creating a solid structure tying each track together. The ever changing sound of the drums yields a mutated feel to each song, giving them a more textured presence. The combined effort gives this 7 track expedition a way of playing games with one solid center.
The stand out track is the one that shares its name with the group and album—“Anywhere”. From the pounding of the guitar to the sweet questioning of the vocals, it’s an immersive experience from start to finish. When it first comes on you might find yourself attached to the rhythm or thinking, “My, Cedric’s drum skills have grown since the last De-Facto record.” All this is fair and valid, but Anywhere is an all encompassing trip. Put the record on and close your eyes—you’ll be transported to wide open spaces of lush grasslands as you float above it all. Anywhere, as a term is often functions as a derogatory throwaway, “Put that anywhere, I don’t care.” IPMM’s view of what Beaulieu, Bixler-Zavala and crew propose is slightly different, “Anywhere in your imagination is where this music can take you.”
You can order the pre-album on CD/Direct Download/Vinyl (with download). The album’s official release date is July 24th.
1. Pyramid Mirrors
2. Rosa Rugosa
4. Dead Golden West
6. Shaman Mantra
7. Infrared Moses