Anonymous - Meet Anonymous CD

Hailing from the growing central North Carolina town of Burlington, Anonymous is a young band that has encapsulated the first part of their evolution in their second album, Meet Anonymous.

There's more than a touch of a band from another, more northerly Burlington in their DNA  - the liner notes give credit to Chad Taylor for "saxophones, skyscrapers, and beebops" - and it's clear that their style is directly influenced by that now-defunct quartet. But like all devotees of that band from the other Burlington, Anonymous has done some growing up over the last 4 years.

While rock and roll and guitar solos and bass grooves all have a say in Anonymous' sound, there's a spice that gives the music a whiff of classic jam and groove music, where no style is left behind. One the bobbing and weaving "A Big Game," horns add punch to the band's rhythmic interplay, and the tune opens up into a tense instrumental jam that affords plenty of space for trumpet, keys, and guitar to run wild before satisfyingly crashing back into a vocal section. Tunes like "Hi" and "Comeback" exhibit a more structured compositional style, the latter pushed along by strummy acoustic guitar and pop-tastic vocals. It sounds as if two songs could have been made out of the many ideas on this track, but Anonymous clearly has an epic feel in mind, constructing songs that are meant to be fully-fleshed experiences in themselves, even if you go far away and back again in the process.

"Picnic With Hines" sounds at first like The Charlie Daniels Band jamming with Squirrel Nut Zippers, but eventually covers all kinds of territory in it's 7-plus running time, even diverging into psuedo-hip-hop for a spell. Alternately, the next track, "The Queen," is completely different, concise and clearly constructed. "Dub Synth" is equally slender, and might be the best sounding track on the disc, a lively near-instrumental spiked with horn blasts and set to a righteous rhythm. While the ideas on Meet Anonymous might seem schizophrenic, the cavalcade of ideas will eventually coalesce into the band's defining sound. Anonymous is taking it's first steps into the big world, and they've got a broad range of sounds befitting of the ground they need to cover.

--Bryan Rodgers