Polished, emotive and undeniably classy, Anberlin are all about massive, addictive melodic hooks.
Everything is focused on the power of Stephen Christian’s immense and soaring vocal punch, and his astonishing ability to ram a huge singalong chorus so firmly into your brain upon first listen that you’ll find yourself humming the tune afterwards without even realising what you’re doing.
In terms of delivery, imagine vocals pitched somewhere between Bono and Chester Bennington and we’re in the right ball-park. Arena and radio-friendly? For sure – in a safe, buffed-up alternative rock kind of way. The band has clearly been building up to this moment for quite a while, given the professionalism of the execution. The only problem is that if you strip away the golden larynx, you’re left with something rather characterless, which is a shame really because the rest of the band can clearly play. There are riffs, but they’ve been tamed and there seems to be a disdain for guitar solos.
With ace producer Brendan O’Brien creating an almost achingly wholesome sound, Anberlin could well hit their mainstream target – but at the expense of real rock ’n’ roll excitement.