The first 12 years of Lackthereof's existence were a scattered affair. Danny Seim—the lanky Portland music scene fixture whose hunched frame usually lingers behind a punished drum kit for Menomena—at first used his side-project as an outlet for the directionless songs of a spiritually rich yet confused young Christian man, and then eventually as a resource for the creative material that narrowly missed the loose-knit artistic core of Menomena.
Lackthereof's songs have no one direction, style, or even delivery, with Seim's husky voice running the gamut from monstrously low groans to a wounded whisper. While Menomena raised the art-pop bar to staggering new heights with last year's Friend and Foe, Lackthereof lingered in the shadows, primarily existing to plug the gaps between releases from the "real" band. The painfully modest Seim seldom brings the band into the light of day, and their upcoming CD release will be the act's fifth live performance ever, each time with a unique lineup. Besides, solo side projects from drummers tend to have a terrible track record (although Phil Collins does not agree with that statement), and while there were bright glimpses of wonder in Lackthereof's back catalog (nine releases to date), in all honesty nothing could touch the output of Seim's other band. That, of course, was before Your Anchor.
In a lot of ways Your Anchor was the record Seim never should have released. It's an intensely personal look into a co-dependent downward spiral that pulls on your heartstrings with great regularity. But the core of Your Anchor almost never came to be under the Lackthereof moniker: "I submitted five or six songs early on as Menomena songs, but the subject matter is a big part of why I took them back," says Seim. "The second I submit a song to those guys it is going to completely change, night and day, they are just going to just rearrange everything, almost like a remix of itself, and because of the personal nature of them, I could kind of sense I would have a harder time letting go of those." He continues, "In that way, Lackthereof is my easy way to be the control freak."
And while Bob Seger's lighter-friendly ballad "Turn the Page" might have already explained the road-dog ways of the lonesome rocker on tour, Seim's "Last November" perfectly captures the hazy confusion and monotony of living in a van for the sake of art ("After 3 am, November/God, we've been in here forever/Running out of ways to sleep in plastic seats/Glowing hotel sign is out there somewhere"), while trying his best to prop up the crumbling foundation of a life back home ("As always, I'll assure you/It's the last time that I'll leave you/Until next week, if not sooner/I'll at least wait 'til after dinner"). It's not as simple as just another emotional yarn about the hardships of touring life; instead Seim is just as confused as any young man caught between the push of artistic expression and the pull of a warm bed and the stability that comes with normalcy. Of course, he gets neither, like a handshake deal with the devil himself. The wholesome kid—who once penned an album entitled Christian the Christian—seems to lose everything but the songs on Your Anchor, which of course, are nothing short of spectacular.