Sunday, April 22, 2007

Anberlin have been one of my favourite bands over the last three years. There first two albums were stunners, well crafted rock albums with hardhitting rifts and melodies. The latest album, Cities, for me sadly has failed to impress me. It isn’t the full album that I expected from this band. The album starts off very strong, but the middle of the album wanes to the point that it has very little carrying you through the momentum of the album, unlike the impressive all on action of Never Take Freindship Personal which unfolds an impressive range of musical stories of pain, relationships and addiction. The reliance on synthesised sounds and psychedelics failed to impress me at all.

So, as you can see I’m kind of critical of the latest release of one of my favourite bands.

(Debut) starts of the album, it is a typical instrumental start to an album, which pulls you into the second track of the album, Godspeed, which is highly reminiscent of the the track Never Take Freindship Personal, containing the classic hardhitting rifts and fast paced drums of the second album. The Album then continues into Adelaide, which contains the classical melody brilliance found in Anberlin, and is reminiscent of the song Foreign Language. The Album goes into its downhill patch. The song A Wisper and a Clamour misses the mark, it could be a brilliant song, but doesn’t have much to carry its energy through, it is one of my favourite songs though on the albulm. The Fourth Song The Unwinding Cable Car, this track is an acoustic number, again maybe waning in its direction. Most of the rest of the album doesn’t really deserve mention, it clamours onto the most powerful track of the album, the finale, (*fin), this track is very much a masterpiece, carrying you through a symphony of sounds and feelings and carries you with the message of the track, in many ways, the work you see put into this song you wish was reflected in the rest of the Album. It doesn’t rely on Christians voice to tell the story of the musical piece.

Most of the album is only carried by the vocals of Stephen Christian, it seems that the rest of the band has gone into hibernation on this album and they have left Christian to carry this album to completion. His vocals make the album work, but it’s a very inadequate show from a band that I expected better from. You can’t just make an album from your vocalist!

The Album has some of the most powerful lyrics I’ve heard from the band though. Some of the songs have brought me to tears and made me think a lot about my faith recently. The Song Alexithymia lyrics carry so much meaning to those who have been broken. The song (Fin*) has amazingly challenging lyrics, asking the question of Christians, are we the patron saint of lost causes? Does the way we treat those who are lost, depressed, hungry for God really reflect the love of Christ, or are we really selfrighteous hyprocrites who seek after our own interests. The Most challenging line of this song was “we’re not questioning God, just the ones he chose to carry on his will”. This again makes me ask myself ask how am I showing the love of God to those who are lost and hurting. Am I just leaving them be, while I go on my journey.

Something I’ve come to realise is that Jesus expressly challenges us on this issue. He says in the bible

Mathew 25:31-46
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

An Issue that we try to sideline, because of our own selfish desires, we forget that Gods cry for us it to care for the lost and the needy, and that we show our love for God by the way we act towards those who are lost. So God is all for the lost the needy the spiritually hungry.
I think the lyrics of the songs by this band are thoughtful and challenging. The words "I am the patron saint of lost cuases" is a mission cry of my heart at the moment.

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