A wise man named Murtaugh was once quoted as saying “I’m getting too old for this shit” which is one of the first things that came to my mind when listening to the upcoming release Right At Home by Weigh The Anchor. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this release is shit, but my age is a major factor in my initial opinion of this release and the influences it draws from.
This, their third self-released EP, starts off with “Medicate” which gives me a heavy Sum 41 influence but with far less juvenile lyrics. In fact, the lyrics seem to be about the impact of the group going from a five-piece to a three-piece which is a notable change to the content provided by some of their peers. As the EP continues, many of their influences can be easily pinpointed: Silverstein, Alexisonfire, New Found Glory, Good Charlotte; artists that remind me of the commercial pop punk movement of the late 90s/early 00s. As they are based out of Oakville, Ontario, I could imagine these good ol’ Canadian boys watching Teletoon at Night in their parents’ basement years ago, catching re-runs of Clone High and Undergrads, and developing their influences from the soundtracks. However, this is where my age becomes a factor; most people peak in their musical influences around age sixteen and their tastes are set. When these acts and shows came out, I was already at a point where I viewed this style as being filled with insincere sellouts and not “true” punks. So, hearing a band clearly influenced by a genre that I had made my mind up on two decades ago was a challenge.
I had to ask myself some tough questions. What was it about this style that I disliked? The anthemic riffs like in the start of “abrasive”? The woahs and vocal harmonies? Or maybe the production quality and how it sounds like a lot of effort and resources were put towards it? Is that what I always disliked about this sound from back then? Subjectively speaking, none of those are negative aspects to a sound—quite the opposite.
These elements act as strong positives to most listeners and they should. Weigh The Anchor has clearly grown since their 2017 debut EP, True Colours, and Right at Home shows they focused on what they do best: providing a high-energy release with catchy songwriting with the backing and production to make it sound amazing while writing more heartfelt introspective lyrics. To accomplish this level of quality as an unsigned act that formed only a short four years ago is very impressive and something to be proud of. But, a part of me still feels like they are taking a page from someone else’s songbook rather than forging a true path to a unique sound to call their own.
While they’ve provided a solid release, it’s nothing new or innovative and doesn’t truly distinguish themselves from their influences and peers. I believe that they have the potential to do some amazing stuff, they just need to broaden their musical horizons and open themselves to new influences. Or, maybe that’s just the opinion of someone who’s “too old for this shit.”
Written by Ted Berger
*edited by Danielle Kenedy