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: The Ember Days
Album: Emergency
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Label: Come&Live!

Over the past year, it's not an understatement to say that The Ember Days have been a favorite band of mine. The funny part is that it didn't start that way. On first listen to their Finger Painting EP that released nearly a year ago to the day (which I still listen to often), I was let down, expecting more music like their previous self-titled EP, but heard only two songs with vocals, and three, somewhat lengthy and ambient, instrumentals, and I decided that it wasn't my thing. I was wrong. After further listen however, I had a much different perspective of the instrumental music. Each song had plenty of texture and depth, and soon after a disappointing first opinion of the music, I realized that my early judgment was holding me back from the point of the music, which has a purpose to lead the listener into the presence of God. And that is what The Ember Days are all about, not just making music because it sounds good on the ears, but for those listening to just truly worship God.

After all that previously said, The Ember Days are now bringing us a brand new, full length album (their first since Your Eyes Light Up), entitled Emergency. To those approaching this new album as a continuation of the ambience and atmosphere of Finger Painting, that is an incorrect assumption. Emergency takes a bit of a new direction for the band, with a darker, rockier feel at times, and at others, there are more subtle moments of intimate worship, that inspire you to just get alone into a quiet place, and experience God's never ending, loving presence.

The first half of Emergency is a bit more aggressive and rock-driven, especially "Unite Your Bride," on which guitarist Jason Belcher does lead vocals for, along with the reworking of "Yeshua" as well. Janell Belcher still takes the lead vocal position for the majority of the album, and her vocals go from hitting powerful sections on "Make Us One," to a softer side on "How Great You Are" and "Adore." The album also has a new, redone version of their older song, "Run To You," which has a bit more of a full sound, as a result of the added electric guitars.

There is in fact an instrumental on Emergency, which is the album's title track, but really does not sound anything like the instrumentals on Finger Painting. The song is mainly made up of piano strokes, which at one point reaches a crescendo, where it adds in guitars, strings, and percussion, before dying back down into where "Emergency" started. One of the album's highest points follows soon after. "High Above" is highlighted with Janell's vocals, and light, sweet piano parts, and its chorus of adoration for Christ is a joyous thing to hear.

Overall: The Ember Days have a sole purpose, and that is to worship. Emergency only furthers their mission and ministry as a band, and in all the prayers and adoration of God in these 10 songs, the listener is encouraged to get very intimate and personal with our Creator, and pour out our hearts to Him. To me, that is an amazing thing, and I encourage you to check out this album, as a free gift from the band and Come&Live!, and truly enter into the presence of God with worship.

Reviewed by Brooks Ginnan

  1. Unite Your Bride
  2. Make Us One
  3. All Honor
  4. Run To You
  5. Yeshua
  6. How Great You Are
  7. Emergency
  8. High Above
  9. Adore
  10. Sound Of You
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