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New Surrender

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Customer Reviews

Is it good? Heck yeah, it is!

Whether or not it is amazing is the question. Is it what their audience deserves after an album like "Cities?" "New Surrender" is the latest offering from Anberlin, and it definitely deliveres most of the goods that come along with an Anberlin album--driving guitars, lyrics about lovers and the liars they can be ("Blame Me! Blame Me!"), anthemic ballads that promote personal and societal change ("The Resistance"), and beautiful (and, at times, heartbreaking) stories involving complex and interesting characters ("Soft Skeletons"). It's all here and it sounds perfect. Wherein lies some of the problem. Remember how they decided to rerelease "Feel Good Drag?" Well, they've gotten rid of the screaming, and as a result, I think the song has lost some of the passion--some of what made me connect with it in the first place. It's clean cut; there is little to no risk involved anymore--no audible edge. I, personally, blame the loss of producer, Aaron Sprinkle, who is a reason the band should have stuck with Tooth & Nail as their label. Sprinkle knows the band (he's produced all of their records thus far), and he's got an amazing ear for what kind of direction a band should take. This problem, I think, presents itself on a track like "Younglife" as well. A song that could have been a wonderful, matured reminise about days passed, instead sounds like an outtake from a Plain White T's album, or the soundtrack to a cheesy end of camp montage (picture a group of happy-go-lucky kids holding hands and spinning around in a circle, maybe skipping down a gravel road, or riding their basket laden bicycles with big plastic smiles on their faces.). The issue is direction, and I think it was a case of a producer looking for radio hits, instead of knowing the sound that Anberlin is capable of. Those are my only qualms with the album, however. The album, overall, is completely solid, and it's completely deserving of some high musical props. "Breaking" is a fantastic song about lost, or broken love. It's catchy, but not completely poppy or fake, the story is real and relatable. Some new and interesting ground is broken for the band on "Blame Me! Blame Me!," where it sounds like the older, more studied brother to Never Take Friendship Personal's "Stationary Stationary," but also finds the band in a new place musically. The same idea goes for "Retrace" which incorporates a different type of love ballad; it's like a cross between something The Police would do, and something you would hear on early 90's adult contemporary stations. It's almost generic, but it's so unique to the band, that it's a new idea. One particular highlight of the album, though, is "Disappear." This is a song that encompasses all that is Anberlin. It's got driving guitars, a socially earnest story, a new aspect of musical arrangement, and an anthemic feel that gets a listener's heart pumping. The next important song, "Soft Skeletons," tones things down a little bit, and explores a daring story of addiction. The character in the song is painted in a stark portrait, but Stephen Christian's vocals are protective, and offer a glimpse of hope and redemption for her. The lyrics and the vocals are earnest, and they offer a hand and a light. It's an interesting relationship between the story-teller and the character he has created. It's true art. It's the most earnest and meaningful song I think Anberlin has ever released, and it is something wonderful to listen to. As was the case with Cities, Anberlin ends this album with an epic song. On Cities, the song was "*Fin," and, in all honestly, it was a superior song, but with this album, the closer, "Miserabile Visu (Ex Malo Bonum)," although not as sweeping and grand, the somber nature is a new turn for the band. The song is about the end of the world, and the bare minimum effect of the songs build up creates the image of a desolate world, like the fallout of a nuclear bomb, leaving only a few people remaining. The rise of the song might even create an even more bleak picture of the apocalypse, but it's done so beautifully, and when Christian encourages us to "look to the eastern sky," it is almost as if he's letting us know that there is hope in the rising sun. A new day can come even after the end has passed. Musically it's a new level for the band and it is lyrically, one of the most beautiful songs in recent memory, from any band. The highs are extremely high on this record. The lows are not low enough to hold it down too much, or to take away from the integrity of the band. New Surrender is not as solid,as Cities, but as a record, it is. The direction is not as flawlessly mapped out, but it is still one of the best albums I have heard since Cities was released, and it is definitely a lyrical and musical force to be reckoned with.

Could have been better

Don't get me wrong, I love Anberlin. I see them live at least a couple times a year and they have been one of my top 5 bands for the last several years, but this CD isn't their best work. The songs are decent and are undeniably "Anberlin" but they are much to poppy and lack the epic guitar riffs found on NTFP and Cities. Also, the CD just doesn't flow well, each song stands well enough on it's own but they don't flow together well. Christian's voice doesn't have quite the strength that it had before either. All in all a good effort by Anberlin, but not a CD that will live in my stereo for months and months like previous releases.

Frustrating Album!!

I want to start off saying I have always really liked this band. Anberlin has always had a certain sound in every song that is almost like their signature. They have a very full and warm acoustic sound in their slower songs such as "Unwinding Cable Car" and "Symphony of a Blase," and a powerful alternative sound such as in "The Feel Good Drag," "Godspeed," or "Readfuels." I do not completely feel their signature sound in this album. I feel like they are starting to blend in with all the other mainstream bands that you hear every on the radio. Many of the songs do not have the uniqueness that are found in almost every song in their past albums. I just was very frustrated listening to this album, hoping as I played it it would get better. It really did not. :(

Biography

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
New Surrender, Anberlin
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