Review Summary: lost in nostalgia's nostalgia
Anxious, true to their name, tread the type of emo-tinged alternative rock that quietly exited the world of music as Turnover took a turn for the dreamy and Title Fight went to the store to get some milk. Consequently, the young band’s debut full length Little Green House
manages to feel more outdated than your average 70’s or 80’s throwback outfit, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If anything, the band seem fully aware of where they stand, opting for familiar comfort rather than risky risks.
As such, Little Green House
feels like it’s tailor-made for me. Its pop punk-infused choruses, its crunchy and grungy guitars, its easily digestible angst: this is everything I wanted from music some ten years ago. And yet, I am in no way the same person I was some ten years ago… shocker. We grow, we change, we start incorporating annoying cliches into our reviews: and yet, somewhat paradoxically, Anxious reprising the already-nostalgic sound of most early 2010’s Run For Cover signees adds a unique new layer of nostalgia to the mix. The 90’s influences of tracks like ‘More Than a Letter’ and ‘Afternoon’ don’t just remind me of Hum and Failure; they remind me of Superheaven and Basement (who, yes, reminded me of Hum and Failure)… call it being late to being late to the party, call it Anxious wearing their influences on their longsleeves: truth is that it still sounds good
. This is entirely due to the fact that the band are highly competent songwriters: while nothing they put forth on the record is new or fresh by any means, the concoction of different elements of alternative music adds all the more pleasantly familiar touches to the throwback² sound. The vicious ‘Speechless’ comprises gentle touches of gloomy post hardcore while ‘Wayne’ incorporates heavenly acoustic textures to enhance the record’s atmosphere: ultimately, everything works perfectly fine.
Yet, Little Green House
is at its very best when it loses itself in near-cathartic moments of nostalgia. The second half of ‘Growing Up Song’ is nothing but pure singalong bliss, bringing to mind the many amazing concerts I attended way back when (concerts were a thing)
. Similarly, the aforementioned ‘Afternoon’ boasts a smooth hook that takes me back to the many joyous evenings I spent being sad to the soundtrack of whatever Brand New ripoff band Run For Cover spat out that month. It’s a bit backhanded, and ultimately the reason why I don’t fully love
Anxious’ first album; but with Little Green House
being as excellently derivative/derivatively excellent as it is, it’s hard not to consistently compare the music to other (and frequently better) acts. At the same time, as long as moments like ‘Growing Up Song’s final chants remind me of the rare sense of joy I felt going to see acts like Modern Baseball live at fifteen, I’ll welcome that with open arms. Anxious might be a bit lost in nostalgia’s nostalgia, but the sheer catchiness of their music will likely ensure them a bright future.