This is the type of album that has the narrow minded dismissing the band as ‘Emo crap’ or some other such highly imaginative insult, when really, like such acts as My Chemical Romance and The Used, Anberlin play dramatic, powerful, super-catchy rock music.
These guys hail from Florida, have been around for over a decade and have released no less than six albums. It’s a very solid strike rate, and by the evidence of this album, their quality hasn’t suffered either.
The first two thirds of Vital are extremely strong. This band is interesting in that they inject some early ‘80s, British new wave-y influences into their alternative rock sound, which gives them a very fresh take on the genre. There’s a touch of Tears for Fears, Bauhaus and The Human League going on here, which is very easy on the ear. Then there’re moments that remind the listener of a more modern rock band like The Killers, plus subtle touches of electronica, especially on the ballad Innocents, that provide flavour without dominating. There’s plenty going on here, and it pretty much all works. And possibly the best part is that these guys definitely know how to write a great chorus.
The album runs out of puff just a little in the latter third of the album, and starts to sound a bit plodding and samey. But by then it has more than done enough to be considered a very strong and pretty unique rock album.
Don’t let the haters sway you: Anberlin are a very solid band, and well worth the time to check out.
BY ROD WHITFIELD
Best Track: Other Side, Someone Anyone
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS, SWITCHFOOT
In a Word: Emotional (but not Emo)