Anberlin - New Surrender
Record Label: Universal Republic
Release Date: September 30, 2008
When news broke that Anberlin signed on with Universal Republic Records in 2007, there were doubts that they could make the transition to a major label successfully. Now, a year after their signing, Anberlin has released their first album under the label and fans can finally exhale as Anberlin has delivered quality music with New Surrender.
What can one expect to come away from a playthrough with the entire album? For starters, Stephen Christian utilizes his melodic voice magnificently throughout every song. But if there’s one thing that’s apparent with New Surrender that differs from the earlier Anberlin work, it’s that it’s much more concentrated on being mature. If you’ve been with Anberlin since their debut, 2003's Blueprints for the Black Market, you’ll know that their sound has slowed down as Christian’s voice has harmoniously evolved.
Standout tracks from New Surrender include “Retrace”, “Blame Me! Blame Me!”, “Breaking”, and “Misearbile Visu (Ex Malo Bonum).” There are other tracks that do their part in providing depth to the album such as the harder riffs on “The Resistance”, the gloomy nature of “Soft Skeletons” or its antithesis, “Young Life”, that is full of wishful dreaming.
One has to question the inclusion of “Feel Good Drag” on New Surrender when it already made its appearance on the second Anberlin album, Never Take Friendship Personal. The song still sounds terrific, but it hasn’t changed drastically enough for it to warrant a spot on the album that could’ve been used for a brand new song. Even with my concerns over it being added rather than a new song, I can honestly say that it’ll find an audience who’ve never heard the track prior to its re-release.
As many Anberlin albums have done so in the past, New Surrender may meet your expectations right away – especially if you’re a huge fan of Cities – but over time, it proves it worth. The lyrics aren’t as strong as they were in Cities, but this is Anberlin we are speaking about – a band known for superb lyrics that put their fans in a state of euphoria. New Surrender is no different in any case; the lyrics find their groove after a few listens and are emotional as ever.
With all of that said, there’s a lot of hope for Anberlin’s future. New Surrender isn’t their best release, but having to follow both Never Take Friendship Personal and Cities is a hard thing to do. It has high notes, eloquent lyrics, a diverse set of tracks and excellent choruses to sing along to. Anberlin delivered an album full of class and now we can only cross our fingers that they continue creating beautiful music on a major label.
Excellent review as its the one i agree with the most. I love "Retrace", probably my second favorite song on the album behind "Breaking." I have a group of friends who love Retrace too, so you aren't in the minority mister.
I'm you weren't expecting Cities Part two like everyone else seems to be doing. Retrace and Breathe are catchy but they don't have last power; they tend to become trite and boring quickly. They'd make for good singles that get people into them, that's really it.
I didn't like this album AT ALL. 'Disappear' was the only stand out track for me which is pretty crazy considering that I pretty much love their other 3 albums from front to back. What I'm hearing from the new disc sounds pretty good so far though. Maybe it will be a return to form.