Review Summary: Frank and Co try so hard to live up to the album's title, but fall short.
Frank Carter’s departure from Gallows has been talked about ad nauseum ever since he announced he was leaving the band back in July of 2011. Gallows bounced back by hiring Wade MacNeil of Alexisonfire and released their self-titled album in September. Carter’s post-Gallows project Pure Love has been eyed cautiously by many ever since the first single “Bury My Bones” showed Frank Carter and bandmate Joe Carroll doing their damndest to channel The Darkness. After much waiting, Anthems
finally arrives, and it is the mixed bag that the disparate singles alluded to.
In some ways Frank deserves immense credit for how Anthems
turned out. He has a singing voice that holds its own and actually drives most of the songs. He also knows his way around catchy melodies, with songs like “The Hits” and “Handsome Devils Club” having big hooks. Unfortunately, those hooks are as far as most songs get. Most of the time it seems like the band is trying too hard to stretch one hook into an entire song, which is unsuccessful as a whole.
The biggest issue with Anthems
, and an issue that proves to be fatal, is the lack of identity brought on by trying to sound like a different influence in each song. As previously stated, “Bury My Bones” sounds exactly like a track from The Darkness, “March of the Pilgrims” is nothing more than Oasis worship, The Clash influences are tossed around all throughout the album, none of them particularly interesting to listen to. With all the influences being thrown about, all that ends up happening is Anthems
comes off as more than a little disingenuous. It seems that all Frank and Co did was try to take things that made their influences big, throw awful lyrics over it, and see if any of it could stick in the brain long enough to be a hit. Very few tracks hit the mark.
All told, Pure Love is a curious disaster. It is clear that Frank wanted to distance his current material from Gallows, but he seems uncomfortable in going so far. The lack of cohesion, blatant worshipping of other bands, and fruitless search for big hooks makes the album a mess, albeit one with great moments. There is an underlying feeling that one day Pure Love could cobble together something great, but not until Frank Carter feels comfortable writing without having his hand held by the bands that came before him.