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Hook & Anchor: Self-Titled Debut

Hook & Anchor, Hook & Anchor debut album, Hook & Anchor album reviewHook & Anchor — Hook & Anchor


Release Date: July 22
Our Rating: 4/5
Spec Recs: “Wild Wind,” “Light of the Moon”
In one word: Americana


Hook & Anchor’s self-titled debut is smooth sailing at its best. The 12-track album, released by Jealous Butcher Records/Wood-Phone Records, is a medley of songs ranging in influence from bluegrass to the pop rock of Fleetwood Mac. It seamlessly combines louder, heart-stirring songs with softer, sleepy ballads, and the result is a sweetly pleasant exploration of American folk music.

Hook & Anchor is easy to listen to, and the band proves its appeal through the music. The Americana outfit’s vocalists sing together on every track, and trade off the lead in different songs. Indeed, it’s wonderful to see so much talent shared amongst all of the band members.

The album opens with “Famously Easy,” and you know that you’re in for some enjoyably mild, country-influenced rock. Singer Kati Claborn’s voice is throaty, but thankfully not frog-like. Subtle harmonies complement the melody, and it’s a suitable introduction to the rest of the album.

While the first track of Hook & Anchor is enjoyable, one of our favorites is the second song, “Wild Wind.” Jaunty banjo abounds, and the excitement builds with the drums and the guitar. When the violin hops in, it sounds like classic American folk — it’s tough but cheery, adventurous but observant. The track is a Fleetwood Mac-infused anthem, featuring vocal trade-offs much like the style of Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks. If that song excites your ears, try out “Concerning Spectral Pinching” and “No It’s Not.”

Another highlight is the sassy track, “Light of the Moon.” Hook & Anchor are skilled at concealing musings about death within its delightful Southern folk sound. This song happens to be about funerals, and (more specifically) lighting the dead on fire and dancing in celebration. Together, they croon, “When I die don’t bury me at all/ Just dip my bones in alcohol.” It might be gross, but it’s definitely a fascinating ceremonial preference, especially when you sing about it.

The rest of Hook & Anchor is made up of slower, gospel-infused ballads. “Hammer” is the expression of the wish to die strong, and the desire to do what you love until your last breath. There’s no arguing when they sing, “I want to die with a hammer in my hand/ I want to live where those green grasses grow.”  Then the album closes with “Fine Old Times,” a Norah Jones-style narrative about the fading beauty of cherry blossoms. It features delicate banjo notes, backed by guitar.

Something tells us that Hook & Anchor will put on a killer live show. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming tour dates, and let us know what you think of the album in the comments!

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