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Anberlin - New Surrender Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.75
Lyrics 7.5
Production 7.75
Creativity 6.25
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8
Final Verdict: 79%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.12
Musicianship 8.91
Lyrics 8.64
Production 8.88
Creativity 8.07
Lasting Value 8.59
Reviewer Tilt 8.77
Average: 87%
Inside AP.net

Anberlin - New Surrender

Reviewed by: Blake Solomon (08/27/08)
AnberlinNew Surrender
Record Label: Universal Republic Records
Release Date: September 30, 2008


Forgive me if I seem a bit zany during this review. There has been great upheaval in La Vida de Blake lately. Things started out great: I finally found a girl that liked me enough to let me do that cute thing where you hold hands by interlocking fingers. I heard music everywhere, and that wasn’t only because Pierce Brosnan hit his high note in “SOS.” Aside from this happy fact – we’re soulmates, I can feel it – I was forced to deal with some devastating news: Anberlin has signed to a major label. Put on your black graphic tee and mourn. It’s time to un-bookmark their Myspace and Twitter pages. Well, at least until now there was the slim chance New Surrender would be terrible. Hell, I’d dump Jasmine in a heartbeat if it would make this album contain terrible ballads and safe, music-executive approved radio rock. They’d be back on an indie and they’d be all mine. Of course it’s just my luck that New Surrender rocks with the force of Blueprints and smarts of Never Take Friendship Personal. And worse still, Jasmine found out my father doesn’t own and never has owned a private island near Bermuda. If you need me, just listen for the sobs at Anberlin’s next packed arena concert.

It didn’t take the 10 billion listens I’ve given New Surrender to tell me this, but opening barnburners “The Resistance” and “Breaking” hit with such a precision that radio may actually collapse upon itself. Guitarists Joseph Milligan and new addition Christian McAlhaney pummel and delight with intricate fingerplay. Don’t snap my neck, but this is their record. Case in point, the last 20 seconds of “The Resistance” will spin you around with lightning fast shredding. As my colleague Rich Duncan would say, “Don’t piss your bed!”

Even though the faster songs satisfy the most, we’ve come to expect a certain level of care with the band’s thoughtfully paced rockers. “Retrace” is the first of these mid-tempo jams to bounce us on its knee with Deon Rexroat’s bass and Stephen Christian’s smooth delivery. Christian commands an orchestrated bridge with the lyrics, “Photographs, they haunt me lately / Chasing shadows as the evening takes me / I’m still searching but the picture’s fading.” Perfect ammo for an away message. “Breathe” also slow dances the listener with NTFP-era acoustic guitars and hugely contrasting bass drum kicks. Tinkling percussion, a downtrodden guitar solo and choral “Whoa Oh’s” – my kryptonite when it comes to tearing up - bring the song home in such a way that you’ll never get ballad-itis. Most upbeat rock bands can hide their lack of dynamism behind solos and speed. This song stands out in the open and allows the world to dissect its flaws. Good luck finding any.

OK, yeah, “Feel Good Drag”: not a whole lot has changed (see ya, screaming!), and in my opinion, this isn’t even the best single choice on New Surrender. However, despite its hard-hitting nature, there is just enough mystery to this song. I hardly expect a flop.

Perhaps “Younglife” (and happy-go-lucky “Haight St.” to an extent) is due to a fluke phase when the band wore turtlenecks and played broomball with their church youth group. The song sits stagnant despite fuzzily-produced drums and catchy “la la la’s.” Anberlin pick themselves back up, however, with “Soft Skeletons,” which happens to be one of the darkest songs of their career. Bending guitar segues, eerie electronic noises and Christian laying everything out on the line for lyrics like, “There’s life in your veins / These needles are chains to hold you down / How can you expect to win this war / If you’re too afraid to fight?” serve to wrap the listener in a hazy fog. If you’re not careful, this song will overpower you. Keep your composure, for although we have but one song left, it’s a monumental doozy.

As has been the norm for Anberlin, "Misearbile Visu (Ex Malo Bonum)" elongates their trusty formula and seriously turns up the emotion. The song’s apocalyptic subject matter (“The sun will turn dark very soon / Your days are numbered / When there’s blood on the moon”) only makes it more intense. Try to stay stoic once the track fully unleashes its onslaught of guitar solos and Vheissu-sized percussion. While “Misearbile…” may, at its core, be just another lengthy buildup number we’ve heard from the band before, it’s still wonderfully executed - especially lyrically - with drama and grace.

On second thought, a band like Anberlin winding up on the radio may actually save the medium. (Although, if “Misearbile Visu (Ex Malo Bonum)” winds up true, there won’t be much left to salvage.) New Surrender showcases a band still brimming with ideas, a band primed to finally see the audience it has so long deserved. Worry not, there’s plenty of Anberlin to go around.


Recommended If You Like: Search The City, The Classic Crime, the word "hella", Ivoryline, the word "stoked"


Digital Get Downwww.absolutepunk.net/anberlin
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 278.
04:50 PM on 08/27/08
#2
handlikesecret
inverted-album-art.tumblr.com
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i still don't know how i feel about this album.

great review though.
04:55 PM on 08/27/08
#3
Rich Duncan
Album Reviewer
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Awesome review! Hahah I see you did decide to throw that qoute in there afterall
04:55 PM on 08/27/08
#4
Theow593
Registered User
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79?



79?????



END YOURSELF, BLAKE.

You've lost all credibility.
05:02 PM on 08/27/08
#5
Chris Fallon
Boom.
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Solid review, Blakester. 79% is fitting - it's not a bad disc by any means, but it's a bit of a step down from their past two releases.
05:03 PM on 08/27/08
#6
Chris Fallon
Boom.
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79?



79?????



END YOURSELF, BLAKE.

You've lost all credibility.

He gave this only one percent higher than The Maine. Also, he gave The Maine a higher score in creativity.... Yeah.
Anberlin is Blake's favorite band, so I think his opinion might be a little harsher than some - but it's also more honest.
05:05 PM on 08/27/08
#7
sweetfootaction
Cake-eater
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Anberlin is Blake's favorite band, so I think his opinion might be a little harsher than some - but it's also more honest.
I deleted my post because I had a number wrong, but he still did give The Maine a higher score in creativity, sadly.
05:12 PM on 08/27/08
#8
unnameworthy
Gypsy Wizard
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Dying of anticipation over here. How would you rate this album against Cities?
05:22 PM on 08/27/08
#9
Shakriel
I just need reassurance.
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"Retrace" is my favourite song so far, wonderful album.
05:45 PM on 08/27/08
Blake Solomon
Leave a one-way note.
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I deleted my post because I had a number wrong, but he still did give The Maine a higher score in creativity, sadly.


Calling me out for the score on another review is irrelevant, but I would generally agree that Anberlin is more creative than the Maine. I spend the smallest of time figuring out those number scores. If you think the review was crap, let's talk about that.

But, in terms of Anberlin and general rock music, this doesn't turn over any new stones either.
06:22 PM on 08/27/08
IamTheINDUSTRY
glory glory
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Calling me out for the score on another review is irrelevant, but I would generally agree that Anberlin is more creative than the Maine. I spend the smallest of time figuring out those number scores. If you think the review was crap, let's talk about that.

But, in terms of Anberlin and general rock music, this doesn't turn over any new stones either.

what's the album in your avatar?
06:27 PM on 08/27/08
princesschad
sowing season
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This album is very good, but not as epic as Cities.

Soft Skeletons is one of their best songs in my opinion though.
06:40 PM on 08/27/08
hockeyguitar99
Prison Strength
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I'm waiting till the disc hits stores to hear it, but I love "Feel Good Drag". This has potential to be one of my top 5 this year.
07:06 PM on 08/27/08
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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I'm pretty on the fence about this album.. " The Resistance" is really tight, but a lot of the other tracks haven't clicked with me.
07:08 PM on 08/27/08
Blake Solomon
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what's the album in your avatar?


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