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New Surrender
Artist: Anberlin
Label: Universal Republic
Time: 12 Tracks 44:58

Anberlin are a band that seem to be evolving in their style and lead singing Steven Christian is evolving into a much better songwriter. Last year's masterpiece Cities showed a very large departure from anything they had ever done as they featured several acoustic guitar based songs. 

Now with New Surrender they continue to forge ahead into new territories as Christian's lyrics take on new and sometimes much more difficult themes. 

"Soft Skeletons" for example is a song about a girl who has become trapped in drug addiction. Christian writes from the perspective of a close friend who desperately wants to help but is unsure how to begin: 

When the light starts to burn
And the pain returns
I just wish that I could heal the hurt you feel tonight
There's life in your veins
These needles are chains
Don't you doubt
How can you expect to win this war
If you're too afraid to fight
Like you're too afraid to fight
Another song "Blame Me! Blame Me!" talks about how a man should often be willing to take the blame for a fight if it will help to heal a broken relationship. 

"Younglife" is an acoustic ballad that finds Christian looking back at the times in college when no one has much money but often build friendships that are much more real than any money can buy. A message that is quite poignant during our tough economic times we find ourselves in right now. Sometimes you don't need money just to spend time with friends!

"Haight Street" is another instant Anberlin classic! This is a song about throwing caution to the wind (within reason) and having a special sporadic road trip with that special someone!

"The Feel Good Drag" is a song longtime fans of Anberlin will remember from their 2005 release _Never Take Friendship Personal_. It gets a bit of a retooling here but still rocks out as one of Anberlin's best break-up songs. In some ways this does seem kind of out of place on an album that features much more upbeat songs than Christian has written in the past, but it still is a highlight. 

The album closes in a similar way to Cities with a long extended rock song that builds. This time the song is called "Miserable Visu (Ex Malo Bonum)" and it is very lyrically obscure but it features a very good electric guitar solo in the middle of it. It does however cling to the hope that no matter how bad life may get there is still hope because someday the world will no longer exist as we know it. Christian also references looking 'towards the Eastern Sky' implying that Jesus will be returning someday. 

I will conclude that _Cities_ for me is still the best album Anberlin have put out to date. However, this album does nothing to take away me calling them one of the best Alternative Rock bands writing music right now. I look forward to seeing what they will be producing in (more than likely) the new decade!

James Morovich


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