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Blueprints For the Black Market

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Album Review

Seattle's Tooth & Nail has developed a reputation as the home for positive-thinking, hookalicious pop-punk and alternative combos, many sporting fancy haircuts and a Christian-influenced worldview. Anberlin fits this mold. Led by the soaring, slightly froggy-voiced vocals of Stephen Christian, the band also includes Joseph Milligan (guitar), Nathan Young (drums), Joey Bruce (guitar), and Deon Rexroat (bass). Blueprints for the Black Market features 11 songs buffed to a gleaming finish by producer Aaron Sprinkle, ex of Christian punkers Poor Old Lu. While it accesses the earnestness of emo through a side door, Blueprints removes punk and hardcore from the equation entirely. Some songs feature dynamics evocative of these genres ("Naïve Orleans," the post-hardcore stylings of "Glass to the Arson"), but those same tracks are cleaned up with electronic programming or lush chorus vocals that are much closer to bland alternative pop/rock. The bopping "Foreign Language" marries the yearning of Cutting Crew to a post-new wave beat, but a song later Anberlin is channeling the grandiose proto-metal of Tool, albeit without that group's slithering underbelly. This obviousness doesn't do Blueprints for the Black Market any favors. It's such a glimmering recording, and the songs are so minutely arranged to represent a particular sound, that the album ends up becoming an utterly pleasant bore. Christian and his cohorts turn in some determined performances, but they lack any definition. A preening cover of the Cure's "Love Song" doesn't help matters.

Customer Reviews

Blueprint for Success

Anberlin is a crowd-pleasing, well-orientated, good-vibe and all-around energtic, great-sounding band. I love the mesmorzing rhythms and melodies on Blueprints For the Black Market. "Readyfuels" and "We Could Change the World" are very well composed and unforgettable. Probably one of the best albums I have ever purchased. I will have to pick up the actual CD someday though.

Great Album

Despite what the reviewer said, probably an anti-Anberlin type of guy, this album started it all. Anberlin went on to become one of the greatest rock acts in the history of mankind (except mankind failed to appreciate them as such). Oh well. Amazing album with awesome, fist-pumpkin’ songs!

Impressive debut!

This sounds like your normal emo-punk band, but this band has a secret weapon: Stephen Christian. His voice helps make this band work real well while also making the band stand out as well. Favorites: Readyfuels, and Love Song.


Formed: 2002 in Winter Haven, FL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Hailing from Orlando, Florida, Anberlin formed from the ashes of various other area projects. Led by the soaring vocals of Stephen Christian, the positive-thinking Anberlin also included Joseph Milligan (guitar), Nathan Young (drums), Joey Bruce (guitar), and Deon Rexroat (bass), and presented an alternative pop/rock sound that, while inflected with the earnestness of emo, was closer to the mature stylings of Third Eye Blind. A five-song demo garnered Anberlin the attention of Seattle-based indie...
Full Bio
Blueprints For the Black Market, Anberlin
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Adult Alternative, Alternative, Indie Rock
  • Released: Apr 24, 2003

Customer Ratings