IT HAS been almost a year and half since Lawrence O'Brien joined Anchor Lane.

The group had already demonstrated its pedigree, with an impressive debut EP and some eye-catching festival slots already in the bag.

And so when the opportunity presented itself, Lawrence was keen to prove he was up to the task.

He had the credentials, following years of gigging with a number of successful acts, and he had the chops to shred when needed.

The Dunfermline man also knew some of the band members and was confident there would be no personality clashes.

Still, he took nothing to chance. He was asked to learn three tracks for the audition, he learned five. He brought with him a willingness to play in a range of styles.

The rest is history.

"I remember the dates well," Lawrence said. "I went for the audition on August 23 and got a call on August 24 to offer me a place in the band.

"We just clicked; it was all very natural. We jammed a lot of songs, some metal, some Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, and we just sort of knew straight away."

Lawrence was recruited after fellow guitarist Jack Nicol left the band. They were all known to each to other, but a chance meeting in Glasgow laid the foundation for what was to come.

One evening, Lawrence was performing at Box and began chatting with the band later in the night.

In jest, Lawrence had said that should his friend Jack ever "break a leg or something" then he would love to play with Anchor Lane – a fateful, if not, prophetic moment.

It was an offer the band had not forgotten as when the slot opened up, he was their first port of call.

The band later filmed part of their music video for the upcoming single Dead Run in Box.

As their new guitarist settled in, Anchor Lane began work on their first full-length release and the fruits of their efforts – Casino – will be released at the end of the month.

Lawrence recalled: "I came in fairly early on in the recording process – I think I was a part of, maybe, nine out of the ten songs.

"The sound of the album is different from the New Beginnings EP – perhaps, a little more diverse.

"It maybe shows more influences as well. You can hear there is some Free on there, some Jimi Hendrix, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Guns 'n' Roses."

Lawrence has become accustomed to working with other artists over the last few years, playing with Melisa Kelly & the Smoking Crows, as well as having his own project.

More recently, he took up a role with metal veterans Attica Rage – though that ultimately came to an end in 2018.

While a slightly nomadic existence in recent years, it seems he is now at home with his new bandmates and the symbiosis is palpable.

The prospect of working so closely with a small group of people – and often for long hours – would present a challenge to most. But it seems Anchor Lane passed that test while recording Casino.

Lawrence said: "It was proof that we could work together; that we could spend 30-40 hours a week together in a small room with no windows and we would still like each other.

"And creatively, it was clear that we were compatible as well."

He added: "Casino is maybe slightly less riff-based. We look at the tracks as songs with riffs in them, as opposed to songs fitted around the riffs.

"So it's a little more expansive; we really just let ourselves go a bit nuts.

"We recorded a wee while ago now and we're at the point where we are just dying to get out on the road to let everyone hear them – to say: 'These are our songs'.

"Some people will hear it and like, others will not like it. But that's taste – music is wonderfully subjective.

"It's a body of work that we are all are proud of."

Anchor Lane unveil their new single Dead Run this Friday (Jan 17), with Casino scheduled for release on Friday, January 31.

The band will perform at DreadnoughtRock in Bathgate on Saturday, February 15.

LISTEN: Anchor Lane: Casino on Spotify