There’s something mightily reassuring about the foot-stomping, fist-in-the-air punk’n’roll of Gainseville’s Ship Thieves.
Featuring the vocal duties of Chris Wollard (of Hot Water Music and The Draft fame), their latest effort ‘No Anchor’ is an unpretentious and hard-hitting slice of Americana-tinged punk rock that is both sufficiently rabble-rousing as to be boisterous, but bruised enough to show heart and soul.
The result is an album that makes you want to get on stage and lead a sing-along with your best mates, but, which when dissected slowly, presents hidden depths and an abundance of character.
Songs such as ‘Middle Man’ and the blistering title track crackle with pent-up energy, Wollard’s whisky-soaked vocals pleading and urgent yet laced with the frustration of being unable to change the world alone. They’re the sort of songs that make you want to bellow until you cough up a lung.
Of course, Wollard is a skilled conductor at this sort of stuff; alongside messrs Ragan, Black and Rebelo, he’s made an entire career out of making punchy blue-collar rock songs that carry a weighty emotional punch, and ‘No Anchor’ is no different. It’s safe, reliable and fits like a faded plaid shirt.
Not that I’m complaining. ‘Born Into This’ is one of my favourite songs from his entire catalogue, a toe-tapping triumph that will have you singing along in next to no time, while ‘MBJOK’ comes armed with a guitar line that’s so on-point it’s laser guided and some glorious gang vocals that will sweep even the most reticent along.
It neatly avoids being too formulaic thanks to the likes of ‘Undertakers’, which rattles along with Wollard’s vocals dropping to a Chris Higdon-style whisper, while the wild ‘Something is Missing’ pushes the rock’n’roll to the fore.
The result is yet another solid effort from one of the most reliable names in the business. ‘No Anchor’ won’t change your life, nor will it revolutionise the musical landscape – but when music that is meant for the pit can make you feel part of a community, it doesn’t need to…
’No Anchor’ by Ship Thieves is out now on No Idea Records
Ship Thieves links:
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)