Over a year ago, Anathens, a rock band from Murfreesboro, opened a show at 527 Main St. The band members had an affable stage presence, and they were practically giving away their demo, which was wrapped in a brown paper bag. While the band’s set was undeniably loud and fun, it wasn’t really remarkable enough to write home about.
Since then, the six-member group toured the Midwest in the spring of 2009 and most recently worked in Nashville’s Gasoline Studios to produce a five-song EP titled Broken Glass.
Smattered with spots of different colors, the album cover isn’t very telling. If anything, one might expect an acoustic indie album within. But Broken Glass is much harder than that, and the band members have evolved into much tighter musicians since they formed not so long ago in 2008. What used to be little more than high-energy noise from blaring guitars has been polished into something much more listenable, as Broken Glass illustrates.
The EP opens on a fast note with “The Sound of Broken Glass” and remains consistently upbeat throughout. And as vocalists within the emo/pop genre are wont to do, front man Dustin McCombs has a tendency to over-pronounce his lyrics, in a manner similar to Hawthorne Heights. The EP also has an AFI-like danceable quality and is filled to the brim with fun, if simplistic, guitar parts.
One of the standouts is “Heartbeats,” possibly the EP’s heaviest song on which McCombs warns, “one by one your chances are decreasing.”
“Dig” is the most intriguing of the five tracks, set apart by a soothing lullaby opening of wind-chime keys, soothing bass and hollow-sounding drums amidst vocal crooning.
Now Anathens is at work in Atlas Studios, recording material for a follow-up to Broken Glass. And while it’s not the most original band out there, it looks like the next step for the members will be proving whether they will get better or worse from here.