Anywhere could have just as easily been called Everywhere, if you’re counting its reach for talented musicians. A project first envisioned by Christian Eric Beaulieu (Triclops!) and Cedric Bixler-Zavala (Mars Volta, At The Drive-In), Anywhere quickly absorbed bassist Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE, The Stooges), singer Rachel Fannan (formerly Sleepy Sun) and guitarist Toshi Kasai (Big Business) for recordings. But Anywhere isn’t just another supergroup. It’s an experiment.
Self-described as “Eastern acoustic punk,” Anywhere’s debut album is a mix of exotic influence and familiar charisma. It brings an intensity fans of bands gone by will remember, even recognize. But the concept of creating an Eastern-influenced music combined with familiar Western components isn’t a new idea; a quick listen to composer Darren Korb’s work will prove that. But Anywhere is ready to make its own mark, and the result is this self-titled debut.
Anywhere is heavily reliant on its instrumental power—a fact that is quickly apparent from the opening voiceless track “Pyramid Mirrors.” It’s not a bad idea, either, as 10 seconds in quickly proves that the band is forging into new territory. Songs like “Dead Golden West,” which features the ethereal vocals of Fannan, round out the instrumental work. Though their work is Eastern-influenced, “Dead Golden West” is indeed very Western-sounding. It’s dark smoke and a cowboy riding off into the sunset. Anyone familiar with Korb’s work on the Bastion soundtrack will enjoy this track, as it bears a striking similarity to “In Case of Trouble.”
Without a doubt, “Anywhere” is the album’s crown jewel. Its fierce, pursuing instrumental work pushes along Cedric’s voice, which strings listeners along as he sleepily drawls, “I’m not anywhere.” Even with the same elements woven throughout the entire album, “Anywhere” still stands alone. It’s the sound that sets the band apart.
But though the album is a much-needed break from the monotony of today’s rock scene, it still very much bears the mark of experimentation. Its Eastern flair, relentless guitar work and wandering vocals will be very hit-or-miss for listeners. And while Anywhere pulls you in with strong performances from Fannan and Bixler-Zavala, it pushes you back just as quickly with long, drawn-out tracks lacking vocal force. Each song that is purely instrumental seems to melt into itself, becoming one ever looping, trance-inducing melody.
And that’s its greatest problem. Anywhere is meant for a very specific kind of ear, and its appeal is not far-reaching. It’s a unique voice, yet it’s one that is the same in its approach. To put it bluntly: If you don’t like it from the start, you won’t like it at all.