The Starting Line – ‘Anyways’ Review

Posted: by Colin

The Starting Line need no introduction. They are objectively and unequivocally one of the most influential bands the scene has ever had. Even though the quintet are nine years removed since their last release, they are one of the few bands (along with emo stalwarts The Early November and Saves The Day) whose discography I use as a measuring stick to judge all new music. And I know I’m not the only one, to understand adoration for The Starting Line is to attend one of their holiday concerts. With a back catalog that has stood the test of time and lyrics that still make fans lose their voice at shows, how then, do you overcome the insurmountable expectations from a feverishly loyal fan base that has waited nine years for new material?
For lack of a better phrase, The Starting Line’s three song, nine minute EP is a safe endeavor that finds the group harkening back to a sound that lies somewhere between Based On A True Story and Direction. Though the production strategies employed throughout Anyways aren’t favorable for the type of fun and combative music TSL writes, it’s an acceptable flaw able to be overlooked given that the songs are well crafted.

The first two songs, “Anyways” and “Quitter,” are the group’s commendable attempt at honing in on the perfect mix of catchiness and vigor that characterized their final two full-lengths. The pair of tracks are simple and straightforward. They are the proverbial appetizer to the EP’s highly anticipated and standout song, “Luck”. A song that was written back in 2011, “Luck” has been making appearances during the band’s live performances over the course of the last five years and is Anyways’ swan song. It is slow burning and mellow, prominently featuring a glorious chorus despite the song’s pace. It is classic TSL. 

Overall, it’s okay to admit that the lyrics don’t cut through you like they did on Based On A True Story. It’s okay to admit that the choruses aren’t as easily digestible as they were on Direction. However, after a nine year writing hiatus, it’s a damn good place to hit the reset button and start anew. And if The Starting Line were considering writing more music relatively soon, I’d only expect them to continue to get better from here on out. But even if it doesn’t pan out, it’s not like the band has anything to prove at this point, anyways.