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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With Shivering Hearts We Wait

Artist: Blindside
Album: With Shivering Hearts We Wait
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Label: INO Records

Like LL Cool J said 21 years ago, "Don't call it a comeback." Granted it has been four years since Blindside's last release, The Black Rose EP, and six years since their last full-length album, The Great Depression, and while many of us waited (some with shivering hearts) for the release of the band's latest album, we never thought for a second that the newest album would be anything short of amazing. Finally, after the long wait, the band released their sixth full-length album, With Shivering Hearts We Wait, and it is exactly what the fans have been waiting for, another passionate, butt-kicking rock album from Stockholm's own Blindside!

The overall sound of With Shivering Hearts We Wait is what I'd call a mixture of the self-titled 1997 album (the talked vocals), 2004's About a Burning Fire (screamed vocals, and overall sound of music), and a touch of 2007's The Black Rose EP (techno/dance touch to a couple of songs). The band basically says "Hey, we fell off of the face of the earth for the last five years, and we're going to give you an album that shows exactly what Blindside is all about." On With Shivering Hearts We Wait, Christian belts out some incredibly passionate vocals, as is custom for any Blindside release. One example of that passion is in the opening track "There Must Be Something In The Water," where the music drops out and Christian screams "Don't you dare speak my name!," and then the song kicks in with intense guitars, accompanied by a background string arrangement, which adds so much more to the end of the song.

The second track, "My Heart Escapes," has an Incubas feel to it, which is refreshing for the band, but they don't lose the Blindside feel at all either. The cool thing about this song is that it seems like it's a song about a girl, but some of the lyrics really speak to me about a relationship with Christ as well: "My heart escapes/catch it/catch it as it runs to You," which is an inspiring lyric about giving your heart to God. "Monster On The Radio" is more like "All of Us" and "Pitiful," by which I mean it definitely has more of a mainstream rock radio vibe to it. The following "It's All I Have" is more like a ballad. The song is softer as far as the music goes, and Christian's vocals are more singing than screaming, but it works for the band and fits perfectly where it is on the album.

Starting off with a really cool little gang vocal intro, before kicking into a classic Blindside song, is "Bloodstained Hollywood Ending," which is sure to become a fan favorite in years to come. "Our Love Saves Us" is possibly my favorite song on the album, due to there being so much passion in the song, and having lyrics so good that you can't help but get the song stuck in your head and find yourself singing it all the time. Lyrically, it is about our love for God saving us when the rest of the world is trying to tear us down. The album's seventh track, "Bring Out Your Dead," is the last hard rock song on the album. It is another classic, hard-hitting track from the band, reminiscent of Silence and About a Burning Fire with the screams, and superb guitar work.

"Withered" is a unique song, and I don't know how to describe it in relation to the rest of the band's catalog. The starts softer, and then has a screaming section in the middle, and then goes back to being softer. Another very interesting song to me is "Cold," as it is actually a reworked version of the same song by Lindforest, a side-project of Christian and Simon during the band's hiatus. There are some beautifully sung vocals, layered with some harder vocals from Christian that mesh very well together, to make a great track. The seven-plus minute long closer, "There Must Be Something In The Wind," has a really cool, weird, and interesting techno/dance section about halfway through it, which ends the album.

Overall: Blindside have released an album so good that many fans have forgotten about the five year hiatus the band was on. The band has included elements of all the styles they've included in their music over the last 14 years. Blindside also mentioned the possibility of another EP of songs that were not included on With Shivering Hearts We Wait, one of these being the hauntingly beautiful acoustic version of "Our Love Saves Us." Also, Blindside are embarking on a 15-date US tour this fall, and if the tour comes anywhere near you, go to the show! As awesome as the band's albums are, their live shows are ten times better!

Rating: 9/10

Recommended Tracks: "There Must Be Something In The Water," "Monster on the Radio," "Our Love Saves Us," and "Bring Out Your Dead"

Reviewed by Michael Small

  1. There Must Be Something In The Water
  2. My Heart Escapes
  3. Monster on the Radio
  4. It's All I Have
  5. Bloodstained Hollywood Ending
  6. Our Love Saves Us
  7. Bring Out Your Dead
  8. Withering
  9. Cold
  10. There Must Be Something In The Wind
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