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| 17 June 2020 | Reply

Label: Tooth & Nail Records

Release Date: May 22, 2020

Rating: 86%

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

While I have heard of Anberlin, it is never a band that I dropped into my listening rotation, but at the prompting of a friend I took frontman Stephen Christian’s solo project for a spin and was pleasantly surprised at how many times I have spun this CD in between others when putting together reviews so I decided to put words down to share my thoughts on this disc.  Disc opener “No Ordinary” has a cool vibe woven into it that draws you in with the pop sensibility, but the sound isn’t overdone or overproduced.  The vocals are great and blend perfectly with the musical component.  The feel of this track gets the foot tapping and begs you to keep listening after the song has ended.  “Black Sea” has a different sound and groove than the opener, but still has that cool sound attached to it.  The tempo is slowed and the intensity of the vocals offset the milder landscape of the music.  “Dangerous” brings the tempo up slightly and poises itself for use at a party or on the dance floor.  Stephen’s vocals on this track are contagious and grab me each time I listen through the song.  The song has some killer sounds woven into the bridge that make this an extremely fun listen.  “Closer & Farther” sounds a little darker without getting darker… the sound is more ethereal than most of the tracks on the disc, at least until the songs morphs at the chorus and falls into the mold cut by the rest of the songs.  “Phantom Pain” is another song that helps blend a darker vibe with a pop sound that keeps you guessing from open to close.  The song has a different, yet welcome groove through the chorus that falls into line when the chorus hits.  The vocal is a bit corralled on this one, but it helps deliver the lyric and songs overall sound.

“Eventful Horizons” is another mellow track that swirls electronic music, a mild tempo, and pop sensibility with great vocals, especially as the song bridges between verse and chorus.  The layered sound of vocals give the track a bit of punch as the chorus rolls in and the musical piece swells to support the big sound.  “Tethered” has a slightly different sound than most of the tracks on the disc, but it doesn’t deviate far from the musical direction of the other songs.  The vocals help tie everything together while the poppy chorus draws you in.  The chorus takes on a Maroon 5 vibe in my opinion, but there are worse comparisons that can be made, right?  “Slow Motion” unfolds slowly with an electronic vibe that has an 80’s sound and feel to it that takes me back to high school with its rhythm and sound without sounding old.  The chorus kicks in and I am swiftly brought back to 2020 and the fun sound and groove Christian has created with this collection.  While seemingly built for a dance floor, I can imagine a sweaty club full of fans dancing in a live scenario to this track.  “Madness” is a song that I keep going back to.  The vibe and sound of this track are the most mainstream and radio friendly in my opinion (other than the disc opener).  I love the groove created by the swirl of instrumentation and vocals on this track.  The vocals on this song cut through the sound and the silence, with equality and precision. “3 Beautiful Songs” ties together different vibes and sounds from the disc while keeping the song on the more tempered and controlled side.  This disc is a surprising good addition to my collection that will be as good drinking on the deck in the summer sun as it will be tossed into the mix while hanging with friends.

Tracklisting: No Ordinary – Black Sea – Eventful Horizons – Dangerous – Tethered – Closer & Farther – Slow Motion – Phantom Pain – Madness – 3 Beautiful Songs





Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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