At first glance, Anxious Heirs seems like an incredibly young band. In reality, the quartet have been playing together since 2010—a fact obscured by their new band name and online presence. Maybe that’s why their first EP has a remarkably polished sound.
The eponymous album contains a handful of different sounds. No surprise, since the band owns up to loving “all kinds of different music”. There’s just enough to indicate that the band is unlikely to be pigeonholed into a single sound, but not so much as to suggest a total lack of uniformity. The end result is a pleasant mix that promises that the band won’t be locked into a single mood.
“I’m Not Free”, the opening track, starts off with an upbeat swell of guitar and keyboard before leveling off to match Josh Try’s deep vocals. Things pick up again for the chorus. The song runs a surprising six minutes long, defying typical rock song length, but the oscillation of energy keeps the track from dragging on or sounding repetitive.
An interesting scratch/percussion mix by drummer Ansel Edward and keyboardist Ben McArthur acts as the intro for the second track, “The Lows”. The instrumental elements of the track create a sense of slow motion rolling, which works well with Try’s almost brooding vocal work. A more keyboard heavy track, “The Lows” comes out as strikingly electrical compared to the rest of the EP.
Penultimate track “Guns Blazing” slows everything right now, with sparse drums, and emphasis on a more acoustic sound. In combination with “Doubt”, the album ends on a softer, if less mature note. “Doubt” packs more energy, but lyrically the songs lend themselves to an incredibly introspective end to the EP.
Instrumentally, Anxious Heir’s EP has a lot going for it as it moves from electric to acoustic, and upbeat and percussion heavy to acoustic. What ends up tying the album together is Try’s vocals—his deep, low voice unites the upbeat and the mellow, along with the overall darker nature of the album’s lyrics.
A little more diversity in the vocal work couldn’t hurt the band, but as it stands, this self-titled debut shows promise.
Anxious Heirs EP is available for (free!) download and streaming at Bandcamp.
Top Tracks: “I’m Not Free”; “Doubt”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)