Artist Of The Week - Anchor & Braille

It's been about three years since we've gotten an album from Anchor & Braille, the indie side project of Anberlin's Stephen Christian, but this week, on July 31st, the band's sophomore album will be released. The Quiet Life is a collection of haunting melodies and catchy percussion, certainly a maturation of sound since 2009's Felt. The Quiet Life is available now in stores and online through Tooth & Nail Records.


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Artist: Emery
Album: We Do What We Want
Release Date: March 29th, 2011
Label: Tooth & Nail/Solid State Records

A lot has changed since Emery's fourth album, ...In Shallow Seas We Sail, made its debut in June 2009. Vocalist/guitarist Devin Shelton has gone on indefinite hiatus from the band, and Emery have also signed to Solid State Records, Tooth & Nail's metal/hardcore sub-label. Now I know what you're thinking at this point, are all the melodies and harmonies gone from Emery, and have they gone metalcore? Well, the answer to that question is that the band has certainly gotten heavier, proving that with time, they are not slowing down yet, but they are certainly not metalcore. All the melodic aspects of Emery that we have come to love since their debut album are in fact not absent, but are still there, and sound even better than before, balancing out the heaviness.

"The Cheval Glass" begins with a brief synth intro, before moving into the classic screams from Emery, that even move into a breakdown, before Toby Morrell's familiar vocals come in to reassure listeners that the four-piece still have a good dose of melody left in store. The first ten seconds of "Scissors" serve as an all out assault on the ears, before transitioning into Morrell's singing, and he even utters "Here comes the breakdown," even though no actual breakdown follows. Some low tuned chugging guitars can also be heard lightly at parts in the song as well. "The Anchors" and "The Curse of Perfect Days" drift into classic Emery territory, where "You Wanted It" drifts back to more aggression. The song speaks of one not being satisfied with life, and becoming their own "god," rather than letting God be in control.

"I'm Not Here For Rage, I'm Here For Revenge" starts off sludgy and heavy, but changes into another classic Emery-like song, and then "Daddy's Little Peach" explores some new ground. A song looking into the dark aspects of quick love and false relationships, it maintains a gloomy sound, before breaking into resounding screams and yells heard behind Morrell's singing. The last section of the song builds up into a full on screaming of "Let's turn the lights on!" After the song ends, so does the heaviness, with "Addicted to Bad Decisions" featuring some of the album's best hooks, and really grasps Emery's ability to write high energy rock songs as well, with thick layers of guitars and synths heard in the intro, and driving guitars and drumming that fill the remainder of the song.

Next comes what fans have been wanting for a while now, acoustic songs, of which We Do What We Want boasts two of. The first, "I Never Got To See The West Coast," is somewhat lyrically depressing, dealing with the topic of suicide, and is one of the most mellow songs we have heard from the band. The song is not completely acoustic though, as drums and slow electric guitars slowly take their places behind a softly strummed acoustic. "Fix Me" finds Emery wearing their hearts and faith out on their sleeves, a song that pleas for healing. "Fix me/Jesus fix me/I've been waiting so long to feel this heart beat."

Overall: Some may miss the unforgettable harmonies that Emery have brought us in the past, but it is not to say that the now four-piece pack in a good deal of melody in their latest We Do What We Want. Lyrically, the album is not another typical album from the band, but takes a look on things like the band's faith, and on some darker aspects of life. We Do What We Want is an album that will be embraced warmly by old fans, and will be sure to expand their fan base as well, by mixing in some classic elements from the band's back catalogue, with new heavier elements, and even two acoustic songs, making for what may be in fact the best release that Emery has had yet to offer. This is an album that is undoubtedly worth your time, and that you plainly just need to give a listen to.

Rating: 9/10

  1. The Cheval Glass
  2. Scissors
  3. The Anchors
  4. The Curse of Perfect Days
  5. You Wanted It
  6. I'm Not Here For Rage, I'm Here For Revenge
  7. Daddy's Little Peach
  8. Addicted to Bad Decisions
  9. I Never Got To See The West Coast
  10. Fix Me

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Ali Bajwa
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