Break Anchor - Blackhearts and Blackouts EP
Record Label - Paper + Plastick
Release Date - March 20, 2012
In the next chapter in one of many post-Suicide Machines projects, Jay Navarro’s reasoning behind the words penned with new pop-punk outfit Break Anchor is well noted in the angst-filled three track EP Blackhearts and Blackouts. It would suffice to say this is blue-collar punk rock written from the depths of someone who has seemingly been through some tough times in recent years. But behind the buzzing guitars and pop-leaning melodies, Navarro and the rest of Break Anchor simply hold no emotion in check here, releasing an EP that while certainly personal to him relates in often blunt ways reflective of financial struggle and personal reflection about everyday life.
In an interesting structuring move for this EP, the three tracks get progressively longer as we move from front to back. Opener “All I Have” is sub-two-minute punk rock number, with a heart-baring introduction and a blunt force hook (‘I don’t need a job, I just my friends / And just like a job those motherfuckers can’t pay my rent’). Though pretty straight forward, it packs a wallop in terms of energy and fun, relatable lyricism. Steeped in melodies and buzzsaw guitars, “Can We Pretend” is a punk-rock love song at heart that manages not to fall into the overly cheesy category while never really letting up the throttle throughout the track. Again not really varying much from the blueprint, Break Anchor relies on their energetic execution lined with the occasional quirk to get the point across.
The third track of the bunch, “A Failure of Epic Proportions”, is really the black sheep of the bunch. Punk in arguably only its attitude, the first half of these five minutes of outpour come to us in slowed down fashion, based mostly on ride-heavy drums and a familiar chord progression. With almost no warning, the track shifts into uptempo mode, bringing back the powerchord-based jamming of the previous two tracks. The accents are what make this section keep away from monotony, as the rhythmic breaks make for a smooth segue back into the rock-out movements heard in the first portions of the song. It’s a bit of a slow burner in terms of catching on, but the honest viewpoints from Navarro help bring a relative nature to a track that at points seems a little drawn out.
Break Anchor probably doesn’t need to rewrite the punk formula to get their message across, but their use of strong melodies and solid songwriting makes this an EP of good jams with a very honest and personal voice behind it. Even with a hint of familiarity though, Blackhearts and Blackouts doesn’t sacrifice its heart for cheap gimmicks or faulty intentions – and that is all we can really ask for.