Anchor Arms - Cold Blooded (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Anchor Arms

Cold Blooded (2008)

Fail Safe

Ah, the good ol' 'Gainesville sound.' You know what I'm talking about: gruff, sloshy vocals, rough-around-the-edges melodies and a general looseness that adds a certain relatable quality to the music. It's been done time and time again, yet we keep coming back for more. You may not know it yet, but you've already heard the debut full-length from Anchor Arms (not to be confused with Anchors for Arms), Cold Blooded. Regardless, there's a lot to like here.

The title track kicks off things in bouncing fashion before descending into a driving verse, replete with fun gang vocals and "hey!"s that undoubtedly translate well in a live setting. "Poison Arrows" has an almost melodic hardcore feel to it, with a lot of frets being utilized in the guitar parts and James Austin's throat-shredding "whoa"s setting up the song's dramatic end. The bounciness and driving verses return in the Smoke or Fire-esque "Girl and a Glacier," and the results are pretty enjoyable. Ditto for "Modern Medicine," a track that finds Austin truly channeling his inner Joe McMahon with a vocal performance that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Above the City.

"Black Water" is an interesting track with several distinct parts -- the first half or so of the song is a minimal, relatively quiet section featuring light percussion and whiskey-soaked vocals before the band kicks in at full volume with tons of "hey!"s and frantic drumming; then, the band seamlessly wraps up the song by throwing in a simple, effective hook while Austin screams, "From the bottom of my heart, my god I miss you!"

Cold Blooded wraps up solidly, with the call-and-repsonse vocals of "Cocaine Cowboys" doing a nice job of setting up an extremely catchy chorus, and the rhythm section bounces on "Totally Dead Wolves" while Austin raspily howls like there's no tomorrow. The band utilizes the loud/quiet dynamic to near-perfection on "Good Dead Me," and throw in another effective hook to end the song on for good measure. "Wires" closes the record admirably as a mid-tempo affair with the highlight being the absolutely huge gang vocals. It probably would've sounded better as track 5 or 6, but it's hardly a huge gripe.

At 9 songs clocking in at a tidy 22 minutes, Cold Blooded doesn't feel like much of a full-length, but its brevity certainly enhances its replay value and there isn't really any filler here. Anchor Arms are definitely a band to keep an eye on.