While not being a big fan of intro songs on records, the first track on the new Anberlin CD Cities, is a good buildup to the hit song, 'Godspeed,' because it keeps a sense of urgency in getting to the main content of the disc. This release is a slower disc than what Anberlin fans are used to, but not one that will put you to sleep. With the ever-present tough guitar riffs, and emotional singing of lead man Stephen Christian, this disc is immediately distinguishable as one of Anberlin's. That is not half-bad because this prominent sound has made Anberlin who they are, and has gotten them to their current status as a very recognizable, first-rate rock band.
With Cities, Anberlin was able to create some substantial buzz about their current tour. The Chicago show was the first on the tour to sell out, and with an enthusiastic and lively crowd, it seemed that everyone in attendance was anxious to see their pals from Florida once again, while hearing plenty of new material from Cities first hand. With some concrete rock songs filling the CD, and with its fair share of heartfelt slower songs, the deep-rooted lyrics keep your emotions in a frenzy and keep you tearing through the disc time after time.
The song that stands out the most on this record is also one of the slowest, and best for that matter. 'The Unwinding Cable Car' features Stephen showing his wide range of vocal talent, with an acoustic background that blends together impeccably. Followed up by 'There Is No Mathematics To Love And Loss' and 'Hello Alone,' Anberlin is able to bring your attention right back to their forte -- rock songs that keep your toes tapping, your body moving, and keep you singing each chorus loudly and adamantly. Many songs on this release offer some pretty intense guitar distortions, and sounds that could only come from the high-numbered entries on a keyboard.
On the fast-paced 'Reclusion,' the guys are able to get your heart pumping and your blood pressure rising with an extremely catchy riff and intense singing from Stephen. The screechy guitar solo put on display in the middle of the song only takes away from the overall efficiency of this song for a second. 'A Whisper & A Clamor' is one of the best tracks on this CD, because it features a slow-me-down, then pick-me-up feel that keeps you very attentive to the overall experience of the song. Then on 'Dismantle. Repair,' Anberlin drummer Nathan Young is able to show off his improved rhythm, while Stephen keeps the masses in tune, and gets you singing the chorus over and over with him. 'Fin' is the last song of the disc and one where Anberlin is able to wrap up their very good third release. It is a track that shows just how much of an emotional roller coaster some of their songs can take you through. With the deliberate buildup, into the expressive singing of Stephen, and then to the intense accompaniment of an 'angelic choir,' Anberlin leaves you with a very satisfied feel when you are done with their new release, Cities.
*According to the Billboard 200 chart, Anberlin's Cities debuted at #19 while selling 34,000 copies in its first week.*