- reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 Feb
- A Whisper and a Clamor
- The Unwinding Cable Car
- There Is No Mathematics to Love and Loss
- Hello Alone
- Dismantle Repair
Anberlin served up an impressive repertoire of emo-flavored rock anthems on its 2003 debut Blueprints for the Black Market and 2005's Never Take Friendship Personal. While those albums received attention in both the Christian and general market, the band's lyrics were always a bit of a question mark. Rather than tackle anything head-on, especially spiritually speaking, they tended to be far too ambiguous to have any real take-away value.
That's not to say that every song has to have some easily understood meaning, but I've always hoped to understand a little more about what this band was singing about. And, thankfully, with the Anberlin's third outing, Cities, my wish has been (partially) granted.
While the soundtrack is just as enjoyable and diverse as previous efforts, building upon the alt-rock foundation that's equal parts hip (a la Interpol, Joy Division and The Smiths) and poppy (like The Fray and Panic! At the Disco), the lyrics are what's really different this time around.
Instead of more open-to-interpretation tracks like "Symphony of Blasé " and "The Feel Good Drag" from the last disc, we've got much more mature fodder that provides hints of spirituality—like "A Whisper and a Clamor" which seems inspired by The Psalms, and "Fin," which offers an introspective, thoughtful commentary on the purpose of life. Additionally, "There Is No Mathematics to Love and Loss" is a relatable and poetic assessment of relationships, much like "Never Take Friendship Personal" was the last time around.
Of course, I'd love to hear more depth where that came from, but Cities is a great step in the right direction. And did I mention that it's really enjoyable listening, too? Songs like "The Unwinding Cable Car," "Hello Alone," and "Alexithymia" definitely keep the bar high for future endeavors.