In Brief: While all Copeland records require patience at first, this one just isn’t standing out to me nearly as much as the similarly slower and more experimental material on Ixora or You Are My Sunshine. The better tracks certainly establish a mood of being in a dream/state existential crisis that permeates the album, but for every beautifully textured slow-burner, there’s another track that feels like its melody never gets off the ground. Blushing is a reasonably good artistic statement, but a bit of a difficult listen.
There are favorite bands that I’ve known all along I felt a special connection with. Then there are bands that become favorites much later on, either because I didn’t know they existed until several albums deep into their discography, or I just didn’t think at first that they were for me. Anberlin is one of those weird cases where I was into the band from pretty much the beginning, but didn’t realize how deep of a connection I felt to their music until almost the end. I also didn’t realize how much it meant to certain other folks in my life until the clock was running out on our chances to actually enjoy the band’s music as a communal experience.
In Brief: Sometimes it’s lush and orchestral. Sometimes it’s surprisingly rhythmic. Even when it’s as mellow and moody as you might expect from one of the world’s most cautious rock bands, it’s quite beautifully textured if you just listen closely enough. Ixora is a quiet but commendable comeback for a band I didn’t realize I would miss so much.
Last night, Anberlin put one of the most high-energy rock shows that I’ve ever attended – the kind where just watching is exhausting. (Not being able to resist moving to the kinetic rhythms of many of their songs – even when socked in by the presence of several other sweaty bodies – might have something to do with that.) You know how a runner who is otherwise exhausted can somehow still find an extra dose of strength to make that last sprint to the finish line? That’s what seems to have happened with these guys on their final tour. They tore through over 20 of their songs with hardly any breaks, only stopping briefly to thank the audience for making their 12 years of existence as a band such a blast.
In Brief: In closing the book on Anberlin, the band delivers a heartfelt (and sometimes surprisingly aggressive) set of songs that make it clear the band members see this as a beginning and not and ending. It’s not quite the grand finale I would have hoped for, but it’s a strong epilogue to cap off a remarkably solid discography. There’s a little something for everyone here, though fans of Vital and Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place will probably respond to it best.
Artist: Iron & Wine
Album: Ghost on Ghost
In Brief: Easily Iron & Wine’s second best after The Shepherd’s Dog. This album’s been bringin’ me joy.
In Brief: The aptly-named Vital is the most satisfying straight-up rock record I’ve heard in 2012, and a worthy addition to Anberlin’s strong discography.