Written By Simon Chisholm
‘Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place’ is Anberlin’s fifth studio album, the second to be released on a major label. This release is in no way one of the typical pop rock ‘cookie cutter’ imitations churned out by major labels. In fact ‘Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place’ takes a step back to bridge the gap between 2008’s ‘New Surrender’ (Universal Republic) and ‘Cities’ (2007. Tooth And Nail).
Typical of Anberlin, we hear easily flowing, catchy, melodies, memorable hooks, and classic harmonic change and progression. There are many layered sounds that do not clog the mix, even making the illusion of being sparse enough for the airy vocal to be prominent. Each element is important to the overall sound-scape, whether simple (subtle percussion) or complex (main guitar ostinato).
The songs are easy to listen to due to the approach of the instrumentation. The drums groove on what are almost dance beats, staying upbeat keeping up the energy level. The guitars have some very interesting atmospheric effects and flowing countermelodies, while the bass has a distinct crunch. Lyrically, the songs broach subjects of emotional turmoil, internal struggles, social struggles and relationships. The vocal makes use of some free flowing ornamentation.
The overall mix fills out the bass, mids and high frequencies very well, like hearing the full spectrum without a harsh assault on the ears. There is a lot of reverb present, mostly on the vocal, usually I would condemn this, but it really enhances the sound. There is use of sampling throughout. In terms of structure, there are common threads in each of the tracks; the songs tend to build up to the choruses and the outro choruses repeat with harmonies.
This is another quality release from an old favourite, and is definitely recommended to anyone who has ever heard on Anberlin before, and a great introduction to the band for any newbie. Put this album on, listen from start to finish and have a fun foot tapping time!
Stephan Christian – Vocals
Joseph Milligan – Guitar, Keyboards, Programming
Nathan Young – Drums
Christian McAlhaney – Guitar, Keyboards, Programming
Deon Rexroat – Bass
‘Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place’ released by Universal Republic in 2010. Produced by Brendan O’Brien.