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: Icon For Hire
Album: Scripted
Release Date: August 23, 2011
Label: Tooth & Nail Records

Take Paramore, Fireflight, and Flyleaf, and throw them all into a pot. The end product would be one of Tooth & Nail's newest additions, Icon For Hire. That's the problem with having a female-fronted band, you're always going to be compared to the rest of the field, and in the Christian market, there aren't many other choices. With one look at the band, you can instantly tell which audience they're aiming towards, with Ariel's pink hair and Hot Topic punk outfit, leading me to think that they'll be very big with the said audience.

The music on Scripted is some good, upbeat, pop-punk, and alternative music. The bad thing is that each song kind of sounds the same, and a lot of it reminds you of other songs. Having said that, I don't think Icon For Hire were going into this album to reinvent the wheel or revolutionize the music industry, but they were aiming to make a solid alternative pop-punk album, and they did that. The music may not be the best thing you've ever heard, but it is good, and enjoyable. There's a little techno intro to a couple of songs, as well as the intro to the album. The music on "Off With Her Head" is probably my favorite. The guitar work is great for the song, and gets stuck in your head from first listen. There is a pretty piano intro to "The Grey," where Ariel shows off her chops as well, before the song kicks into a touching song, complete with strings, before once again kicking into your typical alternative rock song. The band is talented at what they do, but I think there is definitely room to grow on the next album.

Ariel has a great voice, and her voice is perfect for the style of music that the band is doing on Scripted. A downfall is that the first time I heard the first single, "Make A Move," I thought it was Paramore, and then when it got to the chorus, it sounded more like Fireflight. There's also songs where she sounds a lot like Lacey from Flyleaf. I'm not saying that she is copying these other talented vocalists; but you can tell that they influenced her career. There are songs where Ariel sounds completely original, and makes the song her own, like on "Off With Her Head," which has a part where she sings really fast. Also, the song "Theater" is a great song to show off Ariel's originality.

One area where Scripted shines is its lyrics. I think they are very good, and mature, considering the style of music it is. One of the examples of the lyrics I like would be the opening lines of "Off With Her Head," "I'm lucky if I ever see the light of day again/My sin is choking me, my crude built walls are closing in." I also like the lyrics in "The Grey," in which I think there is a great, powerful part: "In your deepest pain/In your weakest hour/In your darkest night/You are lovely."

Overall: Scripted, Icon For Hire's debut album, is enjoyable, but somewhat forgettable. It's a hard choice being a band with a female lead singer in the same genre as most of the other female-led bands out there. The album has some good songs on it, and songs which will get stuck in your head for a while, but the rest of the album doesn't compare. There is talent in the band, and potential for them to grow into something more, and perhaps become the frontrunner for this genre, but right now, I think they're still following in the footsteps of the bands that have come before them. If you're a fan of Flyleaf, Paramore, Fireflight, or Schoolyard Heroes, I'd go out and buy this album.

Rating: 6/10

Recommended Tracks: "Theater," "Make A Move," "Up In Flames," and "Off With Her Head"

Reviewed by Michael Small

  1. Overture
  2. Theater
  3. Make A Move
  4. Get Well
  5. The Grey
  6. Off With Her Head
  7. Fight
  8. Up In Flames
  9. Iodine
  10. Only A Memory
  11. Pieces
(Buy Here)

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  1. Thanks for the review! I first stumbled across this group this week, as their "Make a Move" is featured on iTunes. Appreciate the in-depth look at new bands.

  2. I know this band as they are from my town and I've met and talked with them. First just so it's known, they are not a Christian band, but their music is AMAZING not forgettable. Second, you got the lyrics wrong, it's "my skin is choking me my feeble walls are closing in" you were quoting their old version before this album, was remade for this album. They are compared too much too Paramore, but I don't completely see it, I like Icon more. 9/10 easy. I've seen them live too, awesome. Decatur, Illinois LOVES them.

  3. I love this band and I am a Christian but I want to point out that icon for hire is not a Christian band, they don't want to be labelled as such. The people in the band are Christian and that defiantly flows into their music and you can easily see it in their blogs. They have made it clear that they are not a Christian band. Their thought in this is that Jesus preached to the sinners not the good religious people. They feel like that is what they were called to do.this is the lead singers blog and she made a post about this topic