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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Anberlin
Cities
Tooth & Nail

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


March 22, 2007
Anberlin's strong point is not that they necessarily bring anything new to the musical table, but that they simply take what's already out and do it so much better. The band first broke through with 2005's Never Take Friendship Personal, which sold over 140,000 units and led to tours with My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy. That album's blend of spiritual lyrics and truly compelling modern rock songs moved the band toward the front of the line, and with Cities Anberlin advances themselves several steps ahead of their previous place.

Without a doubt, Cities is the clearest album Anberlin has ever released. It also spans more musical territory, allowing them to completely relax in the album's second half. "Godspeed" races out of the gate with unrelenting guitar work by Joseph Milligan and Nathan Strayer overtop a frantic snare pace by Nathan Young. Yet by album's end, the acoustic and aptly-titled "Fin" closes things on a soft, somber note.

Perhaps bridges this long could collapse under their own ambition, but producer Aaron Sprinkle (Eisley, Pedro the Lion) holds it all together. The result is an effort that rises and falls in all the right places.

Vocalist Stephen Christian has been touted as one of the best lyricists in the college rock scene, and Cities solidifies that standing. While previous material found Christian singing on more existential thoughts, Cities is centered on more personal songs of love and loss; "Inevitable" finds Christian reflecting, "Amazing how life turns out the way that it does/ We end up hurting the ones, the only ones we really love."

That said, personal issues are not the only topic of discussion, and Christian's usual musings on the purpose of life are still prevalent throughout Cities. "Hello Alone" asks larger questions like "Does anybody? Do they ever listen?/ Does anybody care at all?" The aforementioned "Fin" cuts the deepest: "I am the patron saint of lost causes…/ Aren't we all just to you lost causes?"

It's the band's confident ability to step into various sonic territories and declare their contributions that make Anberlin simply one of the best young rock bands around. Cities is, simply put, an intelligent rock album.

Reviewed by Matt Conner
A contributing writer, Matt Conner lives in Anderson, Indiana.

See other reviews by Matt Conner

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