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: Swimming With Dolphins
Album: Water Colours
Release Date: May 17, 2011
Label: Tooth & Nail Records

I'll go ahead and say that I've been anticipating the new Swimming With Dolphins album for a while now. Since Swimming With Dolphins, helmed by Austin Tofte, signed to Tooth & Nail Records last year, I have been waiting to see how new music would end up, as the once duo's main musician, Adam Young (Owl City), left to pursue Owl City full time, and also left behind SWD to be handled by Tofte. The result of all this is undoubtedly a good one, which is proved true by Water Colours.

An album written about joys of life and love, Water Colours is full of lively synthpop, that is actually not too much like Owl City at all. Emphasis on the percussion and synths bring a very danceable sound to the table, one that works great with Tofte's smooth vocals. "Holiday" starts it off with a happy, cheery sound and back up vocals from Sarah Beintker of See You Soon, who is also a touring member of Swimming With Dolphins. "Easy" is one of the album's catchiest songs, with big synths and lyrics that will be sure to get stuck in your head. The tongue-in-the-cheek "Diplomat" features a bit of moody keys, and the following title track and "Jacques Cousteau" fall into the middle of the album, and are somewhat less memorable than some of the other tracks on the album.

"I Was A Lover" is another highlight, being a rather "organic" song as compared to the others, the drums being highlighted on the song, and mellow keys being played, while birds chirping can be heard in the background. The song is cleverly written, with some of the album's best songwriting, "I bought a track jacket, some running shoes, I had no pockets, so I had nothing to loose, took a run from all my winter blues, 'til it was summer." The track that follows, "Captured," seems like it could be a song directed at God, amidst the other songs about relationships, and is one of the album's most downbeat songs, that even features some interesting vocal arrangements and an off-rhythm drum beat (at times). Giving off a darker club feel is "Happiness," which is sung mostly by a female vocalist who goes by the name of Sunsun. The closing "Good Times" also features some guest vocals, but instead of a female vocalist, is Mod Sun, a rapper who adds a hip-hop flair to the fun song.

Overall: Don't be mistaken, Swimming With Dolphins is not trying to be the next Owl City, but a group of their own, despite being a past side project of Owl City. Fronted by Austin Tofte, Swimming With Dolphins have started it off right with their first full length effort, Water Colours. A lively synthpop album focusing on love and life, the album takes on moody and serious tones at certain times, while at others fun and danceable sounds that will be sure to be received well. Although the album is not a perfect debut, both lyrically and musically, it is one of the more enjoyable and fun albums I've heard lately, and for that, Swimming With Dolphins are worth checking out.

Rating: 8/10

  1. Holiday
  2. Easy
  3. Sleep To Dream
  4. Diplomat
  5. Watercolours
  6. Jacques Cousteau
  7. I Was A Lover
  8. Captured
  9. Happiness
  10. Good Times
(Buy Here)

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