The third studio album from Florida's Anberlin is a sprawling modern rock masterpiece, charged with energetic hooks and pulse-pounding rhythms. Cities includes "Godspeed," "Hello Alone," "Inevitable," and more.
Format: Compact disc Vendor: Capitol Christian Music Group
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Following a lengthy tour in support of its breakthrough second album Never Take Friendship Personal, Anberlin returned to the studio to emerge with Citiesan album that, for lack of a better term, just sounds big. With tighter playing and stronger writing, Cities displays Anberlins growth as a band, as the songwriting team of singer Stephen Christian and guitarist Joseph Milligan lead the Florida quintet to focus on not just creating a collection of rocking songs (which they do), but creating a solid album.
It quickly kicks into gear with the frantic anthem Godspeed, followed by the upbeat and radio-ready Adelaide. As one would expect from Anberlin, Cities is packed with plenty of numbers that bring the rock, such as A Whisper and a Clamor and Alexithymia. This doesnt mean that the band has to hide behind amps at full gain, thoughthe ballad The Unwinding Cable Car displays Anberlins skill in stripping its material down to a couple of acoustic guitars with minimal drum and bass to produce one of the strongest songs on the record.
There is a fine art to creating closing tracks, and Anberlin manages to pull this off pretty well by saving some of its best songs for last. The heavy, yet slightly downbeat Dismantle Repair fades nicely into the appropriately-titled Fin, which begins with mostly acoustics, then transitions into the entire band playing at full volume, before finally adding in a full childrens choir; the result of which is near-epic. If the grandeur of Fin could be captured earlier throughout the album, it might be what Cities needs to not just be a good album, but to be a great album.
Lyrically, Cities seems to move from enthusiasm in taking on the world (they lied when they said the good die young) to disappointment and loneliness (is anybody out there?), followed by a bittersweet nostalgia that leads to hopeful possibility (things are going to change now for the better), suggesting the sense of struggle that comes with growing older and going forward in life. Cities, if anything, evokes a hope for the future.