Formed when all the members were still in junior high, Phoenix, Arizona's Anarbor signed their record deal and recorded their 2010 debut full-length, The Words You Don't Swallow, before making it out of their teenage years. Making the type of shiny, well-polished pop/rock with emo tendencies that skyrocketed Fall Out Boy and Good Charlotte to fame, the youngsters were quickly touring the world and doing the Warped Tour circuit. On second full-length Burnout (which follows several EPs), the bandmembers seem intent on showing how much they've matured, with lyrical themes tending toward debauchery, self-medication, and the type of destructive, drama-fueled relationships that seem to happen with people in their early twenties. Hard rock guitar grooves make up the backbone of tracks like "Whiskey in Hell" and "Who Can Save Me Now?," always shifting to big, melodic choruses that temper the snarly instrumentation with calculated hooks. Themes of post-teenage life come through loud and clear on tracks like "18," which spins a tale of a younger lover dating the song's tattooed, chain-smoking protagonist just to piss off her parents, and "Damage I've Done," with angsty lines like "I don't wanna live a day past 29" spoken with classic detached, hair-flipping affectation. While the lyrics seem fixated with the transition from the teen years to young adulthood, Anarbor have matured musically on Burnout in a more tangible way. Touches of keyboards make their way onto tracks like the '90s-influenced "Freaks," and album closer "Rock to My Roll" builds on a ukulele chord progression, taking the song to a place smoother and more refined than anything else we've heard from the band thus far.
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas