Anberlin seemed to make an instant impression on the alternative rock scene in 2003 when they released their standout debut Blueprints For The Black Market. Blending a sort of (dare I use the term) emo-rock foundation ala Jimmy Eat World with nods to personal heroes of the band like The Cure, Anberlin offered much of the same of what the scene had to offer, but in a way that was hard to resist. Their follow-up Never Take Friendship Personal was slightly edgier but held true to the format the band already established. Now, nearly two years later, the band is poised to release their third album Cities.
The Godspeed EP, a digital-only release on iTunes, gives just a taste of what we can expect on Cities. The title track, the first single from the new record, is an aggressive anthem that bears the same vibe as "Glass To The Arson" from their debut or "The Feel Good Drag" from their follow-up. Musically, it may not seem all that different, but it does feel like a natural progression forward for the band - even if it's only slightly. While some bands change drastically from record to record, still others stay put in the format that seems comfortable for them. Anberlin falls somewhere in the latter category, only fine-tuning their craft from record to record. Those looking for something drastically different won't find it, but those looking for the next step in the band's musical evolution just might find. Lyrically, the song seems to follow their focus on relationships, something that carries through to the beautifully melodic and passionate b-side bonus to the EP, "Haunting." This EP is the only place to get this track and it's a keeper for sure. I'm puzzled as to why it's not going to be included on Cities, but it at least makes for a great bonus track online. The sort of atmospheric and dreamy ballad, which does a wonderful job giving a haunting feeling itself, breaks into a few more rock-driven moments as vocalist Stephen Christian's signature vocals belt out romantic lyrics about the memory of a girl. While the echo effect on his vocals make the words a bit hard to decipher at first, it's a musical highlight no doubt.
The Godspeed EP may be brief but it successfully gives the appearance that Anberlin's next venture is shaping up to be a 2007 highlight. I suppose we'll have to wait and see as Cities drops on February 20th.- Review date: 12/28/06, written by John DiBiase
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