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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The Quiet Life

Artist: Anchor & Braille
Album: The Quiet Life
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Label: Tooth & Nail Records

Over the past ten years, Stephen Christian has been a busy man. He's written a book (The Orphaned Anything's), co-founded the non-profit Faceless International, and toured the world as the frontman of renowned alt rock band Anberlin, along with maintaining his other music endeavor, Anchor & Braille. The Quiet Life is the band's sophomore effort, and their first with Seattle's Tooth & Nail Records, and is quite different from the debut Felt.



Instead of working with producer Aaron Marsh this time around, Christian worked with guitarist Micah Tawlks and Kevin Dailey (keyboardist of indie rock band Civil Twilight). The Quiet Life feels more vibrant than it's predecessor, strongly utilizing programmed beats and percussion throughout, along with a much more fuller sounding production quality. The album reaches into some indie pop territory on songs like the opener "Goes Without Saying" and "In With The New," while the grooving "Kodachrome" contains Euro-rock sensibilities. The album's closing three songs are undoubtedly its best, starting with the heartfelt piano piece "Hymn For Her," which alongside "If Not Now When" strikes an emotional chord, a lament of love. The slow, jazzy "Everybody Here Wants You" couples melancholy lyrics with a superb vocal performance from Christian, which segues into "Before I Start Dreaming," setting an ambient atmosphere, complete with a captivating string section that pull it all together to fitting end The Quiet Life.

Overall: The Quiet Life is one of the best things I've heard from Stephen Christian to date, well accompanied by guitarist and backing vocalist Micah Tawlks. Anchor & Braille may have created the sleeper album of the year with their indie tapestry, and even though first listen wasn't all that I expected, The Quiet Life seems to get better and better with every listen. If you're looking for a fall soundtrack (even though the album released mid-summer), this album is the way to go, and hey, it's even on vinyl (everything sounds better that way, right?).

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by Brooks Ginnan

Tracklisting:

  1. Goes Without Saying
  2. Knew Then Know Now
  3. Find Me
  4. In With The New
  5. If Not Now When
  6. Kodachrome
  7. Collapse
  8. Hymn For Her
  9. Everybody Here Wants You
  10. Before I Start Dreaming
(Buy Here)

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