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Umphrey's McGee

Crossover Prog

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Umphrey's McGee Anchor Drops album cover
4.10 | 90 ratings | 10 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Plunger (5:59)
2. Anchor Drops (4:48)
3. In the Kitchen (3:58)
4. Bullhead City (4:32)
5. Miss Tinkle's Overture (5:37)
6. Uncommon (2:50)
7. Jajunk Pt. I (3:19)
8. 13 Days (4:28)
9. Jajunk Pt. II (3:44)
10. Walletsworth (4:37)
11. Robot World (3:30)
12. Mulche's Odyssey (4:56)
13. Wife Soup (7:43)
14. Pequod (2:55)

Total Time: 64:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Brendan Bayliss / guitars, vocals
- Jake Cinninger / guitar
- Joel Cummins / keyboards
- Ryan Stasik / bass
- Kris Myers / drums, horn arrangements (13)
- Andy Farag / percussion

- Elliott Peck / vocals (4)
- Karl Denson / sax (13)
- Andy Geib / trombone (13)

Releases information

Artwork: Rob Heimbrock

CD SCI Fidelity Records ‎- UM0006 (2004, US)
CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 199 (2004, Germany)

Thanks to Krigsman for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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UMPHREY'S MCGEE Anchor Drops ratings distribution

(90 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

UMPHREY'S MCGEE Anchor Drops reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Anchor Drops" is my first experience with UMPHREY'S MCGEE; a band that I had never heard before and thanks to the internet revolution we are experiencing now, this band has been reviewed in many sites on the net. They deserve it because they play excellent music with their own identity. I'm truly impressed with the music quality and musicianship of this album; the music is neatly arranged and the musicianship of the musicians involved are really excellent. I thought that it's the name of the musician / artist but in fact Umphrey's McGee is the name of a band from America. What's so unique about Umphrey's McGee's music is that it combines many styles which have been available in the market: jazz, rock, pop, country, funk, R&B, and even power metal - blend them together in a cohesive way as Umphrey's McGee's music. The band admits that their music is heavily influenced by The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and also they share a love for the music of Yes, Gabriel-era Genesis, King Crimson, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miles Davis, and Jaco Pastorius. Influence from Frank Zappa and Phish music also obvious here in this album. Enjoying this album at the very first time reminds me to a unique marriage between jazz/rock fusion with funk as well as classic rock style. The vocal quality is very similar to Audioslave lead singer.

The album opener "Plunger" (5:59) blast the music off with a fast tempo rhythm section combining drum, bass, guitar (dominant) and keyboard. The guitar style sometime reminds me to Trey Anastasio (Phish) but in some short segments I find a kind of Yngwie Malmsteen guitar-playing. The rocking vocalist sounds really similar with Audioslave' vocalist combined with Supertramp vocal quality. There are many tempo changes demonstrated here whereby in some changes the band add transition pieces using acoustic guitar fills in relatively fast tempo. "Anchor Drops "(4:48) and "In the Kitchen" (3:58) are very similar in composition. All of them were composed neatly and the songs were energetic in style. Sometime I can sense the kind of jazzy pop music like the music performed by The Leon Haines band in the eighties (remember the band who played "Another Clown" sometime in eighties?) Yes, it was quite popular jazzy-pop-r&b kind of music which was common at that time).

"Bullhead City" (4:32) is truly a country pop music that provides a temporary switch into another style of music. I have to admit that this track reminds me to Kenny Rogers and Doly Parton collaborative work as it features female voice as well. Even though this track does not really favor me but the acoustic guitar work is truly stunning. What's truly a wonderful composition music is track 5: "Miss Tinkle's Overture" (5:37) - an instrumental track that features excellent combination of speedy guitar work, dynamic drumming, keyboard and bass guitar. It's I think one of the best tracks in this album.

For those of you who really want to venture into various kinds of progressive music, this album is one of the best under jazz/rock fusion category. The virtuosity of guitar player Jake Cinninger and wonderful composition are the important attraction points of this album. Those who love The Flower Kings will also love this album even though the music is not exactly the same. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW


Review by Carl floyd fan
5 stars These guys need to be experienced live, period. I saw them this summer and they blew me away. It was only an hour set but they stood out against the others at the big summer classic. They have a heavy metal intensity with chill vibes and long jams. They are possibly the best touring band right now and are making huge strides in the jam band genre with innovations galore. With that said, its usually risky to get a studio album from a band like Umphreys or phish or SCI, who emphasize the shows more than the studio. But this is a really a good cd with precise playing. They mix in so many genres: straight up rock, prog, heavy metal, jazz, but jam band is at the forefront. I heard they study tapes of shows much like a coach would do for games. It defiantly seems that way from the few shows I have downloaded off archives as they seem to expand and improve in leaps and bounds....and very quickly at that. Pick up what is sure to be one of the best jam band cds..of the decade!
Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Was all the best progressive rock released in the 70s? Not quite. Would you like to get into some fine new progressive music, that's quite able to stand beside the 70s classics in your collection? If so, have I got a band and album for you!

Umphrey's McGee were formed in Indiana in 1997, and in 2004 they released their fifth studio album. ANCHOR DROPS is a very strong recording, from an obviously seasoned band of accomplished and highly creative musicians.

Categorizing music can be difficult, and Umphrey's is an excellent case in point. Though they are listed here as a "jazz rock/fusion" outfit, the diverse music on ANCHOR DROPS transcends that genre - there is also a strong "Canterbury" element in the marrying of often quirky lyrics with jazzy, "jammy" music, and there is even one track with a pronounced country feel. Umphrey's are not a band to be pigeon-holed!

Categories aside, the fourteen selections on ANCHOR DROPS provide almost sixty-five minutes of top quality, ever-interesting listening - "it's all good," as they say!

Opening number "Plunger" gets matters going with some synchronized, powerful guitar riffs, and a very tight rhythm courtesy of bassist Ryan Stasik, drummer Kris Myers, and percussionist Andy Farag. There are several sections to the song, including one with acoustic guitar, piano, and some Latin-feeling percussion. Never a dull moment!

Next up, title track "Anchor Drops" advances the overall eclectic, intelligent tone with an easy groove, a funky bass line, and some jazzy keyboards. The vocals are solid (four of the six band members sing), and the lead guitar is notably good. Canterbury fans will find themselves in fun and friendly territory here, as this winsome song progresses seamlessly through multiple infectious themes and changes. Simply great, but certainly not "simple" or predictable!

The rock side of the equation rises to the forefront on the superb "In the Kitchen," which just might be my favourite from this stellar set. It starts out with a fast and funky bass riff, and a strummed acoustic guitar, before the vocals and the remainder of the band come in. Again, there are many themes and transitions here, from jazz, to near-metal "rocking out." A particularly pleasing section accompanies the lyrics: "I don't expect to smile when I get home. The blankets that I stole should keep you warm." Then there's the driving chorus: "The TV's on too much, and I don't ever think enough about the things that matter most - complacently replacing a melody with smoke." This one "smokes" -- no mistake!

"Bullhead City" is the disc's country/folky piece. The listener is treated to a male and female vocal duet, in a very catchy song that further highlights this great band's amazing musical range. This one also provides a nice break from the prevailing complexity and intensity.

Any lingering doubts about the group's prog credentials should be dispelled via the whimsically-titled instrumental "Miss Tinkle's Overture." As the word "overture in its name suggests, this number covers a lot of territory in a five-and-a-half fleeting minutes of pure proggy pleasure. A driving, near-militaristic snare, and some superb, soaring lead impart extra distinction here.

"Uncommon" is just that (but then, so is the entire album)! This is a wonderfully tight, quirky number, with memorable, darkly-humourous lines such as "Something about me stinks - something about me smells. I don't want that to be how you remember me - some thing about me stinks. If I was not so strange, if I could only change, I wouldn't be so far, from standing where you are, if I was not so strange."

I could continue with the track-by-track analysis, but in the interest of keeping this review to a more manageable length, I'll wrap it up by saying that you'll certainly get your "walletsworth" (that's the name of the tenth track) with this fine CD. Progressive rock is most definitely NOT dead, and Umphrey's McGee are at the forefront of more recent acts that are bravely taking the music to new and wonderful places. ANCHOR DROPS is one of the very best latter-day discs that I've had the good fortune to hear. Adventurous listeners, and especially fans of fusion and Canterbury, should really enjoy this excellent album. Top-notch musicianship, tight, varied compositions, great vocals, smart and often-amusing lyrics; ANCHOR DROPS is the complete package. Unreservedly, whole-heartedly, gleefully recommended -- you HAVE to check this one out! Play it and smile, prog fans!

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Yes I am a huge Phish phan. Are these guys like Phish? Not much from what I hear. Sure there are a few occasional similarities, but not enough to be considered a copy or a rip off. The biggest difference is Umphrey's McGee is a lot more progressive, especially on this album. I love this album. I am not going to say much about it, because there are already some long reviews of the album and I honestly think most of what needs to be said has been said. Now it's time for you to experience the album for yourself. At times, this is very complex and progressive, at other times some songs are simpler and more standard, but never boring. The mix of the styles works here. There are many surprises throughout. That's all I'm going to say about the album. Get out there and discover these guys now! They are not getting enough attention!

Latest members reviews

5 stars If Umphrey's in 2002 was considered doing OK, then Anchor Drops is doing fantastic. This album's a bit of a tie for loose ends hanging out on the prior album, ironing out most of the amateurism and lack of focus that was at all featured on it. The variety of unique instruments don't over-exert t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1591655) | Posted by aglasshouse | Tuesday, July 26, 2016 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Umphrey's McGee seems to have a small but very loyal following here on PA. This album weighs on at 4.31 on 16 ratings prior to mine but I am afraid I am going to have to be the voice of dissent. Otherwise, people may be duped into buying this album thinking they are getting a good album for the ... (read more)

Report this review (#201047) | Posted by johnobvious | Thursday, January 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Even though they say that Led Zeppelin and The Beatles are they main influences, the sound that UMG offer is really personal. Although you may say they are progressive, they have some jazz-rock influences, funk and a bit of modern sounds (Spin Doctors, for example). But the best is that you can ... (read more)

Report this review (#165015) | Posted by Jordi Planas | Wednesday, March 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There is something about studio albums which gives finality to musical works. Since most bands produce a studio album first before any touring, there is immediately the feeling that it has been done, and that even if performed better at some point in the future, it cannot be the "real thing". Ump ... (read more)

Report this review (#66717) | Posted by | Wednesday, January 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I think that pretty much everything about this album, or the band, that could be said, already has been said. All of these tracks are quality songs (I believe that "In the Kitchen" won the band a "Jammy" award). Some people might be turned off by the fact there are no "epics." However, do not ... (read more)

Report this review (#66715) | Posted by | Wednesday, January 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Umphrey's second studio album is sort of a progression from their first album , but not quite as fun and goofy. It seems to be a more commercial outing , but more proggy and less arty and jazzy . The album also concentrates more on rock and riffs . The album still consists of all very amazing ... (read more)

Report this review (#45287) | Posted by B360Lightning | Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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