Anchor Thieves – The Havoc Siren

On a previous episode of the WOTT Music podcast we played a track from the new Anchor Thieves release, Havoc Siren, but the entirety of the EP is a noteworthy experience that should be indulged in full.

Anchor Thieves has been releasing records at a consistent pace since 2011, with this latest being their sixth overall. As one would expect, the first few releases refined a particular sound; in this case, a bit of anthemic rock cut with melancholy. There’s always been an early Sunny Day Real Estate vibe to the band, largely due to the vocal qualities of Cayce Keller. It’s rock and roll but it’s also never been afraid to be sensitive. That is not a derogatory observation, it is a compliment.

With the release of The Havoc Siren, the band has made a tectonic shift in their approach. It’s certainly the same band with the same refined skills of memorable songwriting but the pieces have shifted. Where the 2017 release, An Echo Thrives, has plenty of big, crunchy, guitars and fist-in-the-air moments, The Havoc Siren has saxophone and flute flourishes led by a haunting piano line. “Ipso Facto” is the most different of the tracks – in comparison to their entire catalog – but tracks like “Siren” and “Trapezoid” are both more subdued, more nuanced and more cathartic when they do lean back into their familiarity territories of a soaring guitar solo.

This is only an EP but it shows a major change for the band, not only in their willingness to dabble in richer compositions but in their ability to execute on them. If this is all we hear from the band in 2019, I’ll be satisfied to know that the seeds have been sown for something equally as entrancing for the future.