New name, old sound

Once known as Chris Wollard and the Ship Thieves, this album sees Wollard take the sound much closer to his Hot Water Music roots. The music is very much middle-era Bad Religion without the oozin ahs, (perhaps something more like Pegboy or Naked Raygun--or HWM, duh).

Ship Thieves
No Anchor
(No Idea)
Funny thing about this kinda stuff. There are tons of bands who play vaguely tuneful uptempo punk. And there are very few who manage to write even one memorable song. I love this sound, but even I have to admit that far too many bands are faceless and generic.

Not a problem here. Wollard has a fine growl, and the lead guitar work is simply spectacular. I'm talking about the sinewy licks throughout the songs and not solos. Ship Thieves blazes away with abandon, but it does so with impressive nimbleness.

So is it better than Hot Water Music? Geez. The earlier incarnation of this band was much more folky and introspective, though it would be hard to say they sounded very much "alike." This is much more in HWM territory, but perhaps played in a different key. A similarly-talented cousin, perhaps.

Which is dancing around the question. Forgive me. Ship Thieves have forged one of the best crunchy punk albums I've heard in a while. Plenty of muscle, plenty of thought, plenty of fun. You analyze all you want. I'll be in front of the stage, jumping up and down.

Jon Worley

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