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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labor pains Cover Art

Artist: Sinai Vessel
Album: Labor Pains
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Label: None

Music is something that with the right intentions, can really connect with the listener on a deeper level. Sinai Vessel do a good job of this. I first discovered the music of Sinai Vessel, headed by Caleb Cordes, from a large independent music site a few years ago, but it wasn't until the summer of 2011 that I really gave a listen to their sometimes upbeat, sometimes somber taste of indie rock. By the time the band's new album Labor Pains arrived, I was more than ready to dig into it.

The songs on Labor Pains each have their own individual feel, while containing a cohesiveness that is rare to come by these days. There are moments of acoustic subtlety, energetic drums, pulsating electric guitars, and the sometimes intimate, yet always commanding, vocals of Caleb Cordes, which show a truly great range. Lyrically, Labor Pains is a spiritually very deep album, revealing that a good deal of thought, introspect, and intellect were put into the writing.

A strummed guitar buzzes into the speakers to introduce "Venture," which has a lovely, pure sense to it, reflecting the loving relationship between God and his children. "Wisteria" follows with a raucous groove of untapped energy, with guitars that progress from electric to acoustic within a measure, before the electric resurfaces, along with the lyric "break free!" Raw emotion is poured into "Heels of Lions," a slow, orchestrated song, which builds into an eerie, hallow yell towards the song's climax, which is chill inducing. The rhythmically heavy "Untitled" dwells heavily on the bass line, and lyrically, expresses an honest conversation with God, stating "You could be with anyone else, I'd make a better wife to hell itself." Despite being acoustically driven, "Vows" is easily the most upbeat song on Labor Pains, abounding in worship, proclaiming "Where You go, I'll go, where You stay, I'll stay as well."

"Yet Lovely" takes on a different note, and is backed by an ambience of strings, which build into a dramatic crescendo of sound, taking a much more diverse feel from anything else on the album. "The Submariner" also has a build up, but into a collection of gang vocals, before some of Labor Pains' best lyrics, showing a spiritual renewal, are unveiled to close the song; "They call it a revival but it's more like a birth, when the marrow in my bones begins to mix with the earth and the water in my lungs mixes as mud with the dirt, and "hallelujah" is recorded as my first spoken word." Based off of the hymn "My God, I Know, I Feel Thee Mine" by Charles Wesley is the Sinai Vessel arrangement,"Parturition," sounding like it was tracked live to tape. The song begins with a folk sounding guitar part, which ends up fueling the intimacy of the song, not only just a man and a guitar, but also showing the love between the Father and a son, which sums up Labor Pains as a whole.

Overall: Caleb Cordes, assisted by David Wimbish, makes up Sinai Vessel's inception of Labor Pains, an album conveying deep honesty and passion driven by an introspection of faith, expressed through well written lyrics and indie rock full of grooves. The production quality gives off the feeling of what an indie album should sound like, a sharp rawness that only adds to a near live, intimate setting. Labor Pains is more than simply a collection of songs, and it is more than just another album, but instead is a deep experience of worship, composed of the joys and pains of a spiritual birth. I can truly see it being a timeless album, showing that Sinai Vessel certainly have the talent to be recognized among the likes of faith-driven indie rock bands such as My Epic and Ascend The Hill.

Rating: 9.5/10

Reviewed by Brooks Ginnan

Tracklisting:

  1. Venture
  2. Wisteria
  3. Heels of Lions
  4. Untitled
  5. Vows
  6. Yet Lovely
  7. The Submariner
  8. Parturition
(Pay What You Want Download)

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2 comments:

  1. Great review and great artist.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You’re right. I connect so deeply with the music of Sinai Level, too. This is especially true for their album Labor Pains. Thank you for the detailed review.

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    ReplyDelete