Full Body Anchor rebuild their own alt-rock nation

Open to interpretation
By BARRY THOMPSON  |  August 3, 2011

INFLUENTIAL Members of Full Body Anchor have played — or continue to play — in the Marvels, the Dents, and the Raging Teens. But they sound nothing like any of those bands. 

Asking "Who are your influences?" is the music journalism equivalent of "What's your sign?" in the dating world.

Both questions are beyond hackneyed, they're both lazy short cuts to information the inquirer could figure out by getting to know the inquiree better, and they both work backwards from totally unscientific conclusions.

Does the time of your birth really have any impact on your personality? Do your "desert island" albums necessarily relate meaningfully to whatever art you make yourself? Does it matter when, ideally, a listener need not have heard your personal faves to pick up on whatever you're throwing down?

Full Body Anchor manage both to validate and challenge this hypothesis. If everybody's honest, a good portion of the assemblage getting their socks rocked the fuck off at T.T.'s this Friday night won't know Archers of Loaf or Shudder to Think from Bob and the Bobs featuring Bob. "Stars" by Hum may very well be the extent of many folks' familiarity with Full Body Anchor songwriter Eric Edmonston's creative jump-off points. (Not to be confused with stage monitors, which he uses as physical jump-off points.)

So maybe the "influences" question isn't so immediately relevant, but it can lead to worthwhile educational experiences. For example, did you know a lot aside from Soul Asylum, Counting Crows, and My So-Called Life happened in the '90s? I sure didn't (and I'm barely exaggerating). The five Full Bodies enlightened me over adult beverages on the back porch of the Quincy homestead Eric shares with his wife and FBA co-guitarist, Kristin Edmonston.

"I get skeptical when someone my age says, 'I wasn't influenced by any of that.' How can you not be, when you were 16 or 17, heard Nirvana or whatever, and started playing guitar?," asks bassist Dennis Carver. "People say, 'No, no, I liked late-'70s punk.' Well, me too, but that didn't influence me as much because I was a year old in '77."

The entire quintet know a thing or a dozen about punk. Eric has sung since high school, but until this band, he was more recognizable around town as the founding drummer of Darkbuster and Drago. The whole Full Body Anchor gang either used to, or continue to, play in keystone Boston punk and/or hardcore and/or rockabilly operations like Drago, the Marvels, the Dents, and the Raging Teens. Meanwhile, Full Body Anchor deal in shimmering guitars, a suave-yet-stark ebb and flow of dynamics, and pathos-soaked wailing — and sound nothing like any of those bands.

Eric recalls, "I wrote this one song ['Overload'] thinking, 'This is like Swirlies!' So I played them for Kristin, and she said, 'They don't sound anything like that son.' But that's what my impression of the song is, even though I don't sing like that." Carver acknowledges the collective's punk pedigree: "We're like, 'Yeah, that's pretty cool, but we're going to speed it up a little and make it energetic.' "

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