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Anberlin - Never Take Friendship Personal (Cover Artwork)

Anberlin

Anberlin: Never Take Friendship PersonalNever Take Friendship Personal (2005)
Tooth & Nail Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

As a music fan, I tend to be pretty skeptical by nature when an upstart band receives a huge push for a specific album. In almost every instance, the hype does a piss poor job of living up to the months of expectation thrust upon an album. In some cases, the hype is so bad I just tune everything out.
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As a music fan, I tend to be pretty skeptical by nature when an upstart band receives a huge push for a specific album. In almost every instance, the hype does a piss poor job of living up to the months of expectation thrust upon an album. In some cases, the hype is so bad I just tune everything out, and end up never even giving the album a shot. I still have yet to listen to the Arcade Fire's Funeral in its entirely, for no reason other than for an album to garner the accolades it has, it has to be a letdown upon finally listening to it. Anberlin's sophomore effort, Never Take Friendship Personal, has had a decently-sized buzz surrounding it for months, and it was for that reason I had yet to hear anything from it until a few days ago. Well, this album just may prove not all buzz bands are a perpetual letdown.

Tooth & Nail has not always been the most impressive label to me with their output. It has nothing to do with the Christian affiliation - really, more a complete lack of solid acts signed. Aside from the first Further Seems Forever album, nothing has really grasped my attention until now. Anberlin succeeds in bringing nothing new to the musical table, yet bringing to that same table some engaging guitar hooks and some of the best melodies from any pop-rock band in recent memory. It's not the kind of melody that's provided by a seasoned veteran at the mixing board, either - it's a genuine sense of melody and harmony that the vocals exemplify in every single song. The band as a whole obviously knows how to play off the vocal strengths of the lead singer, as the songs appear to be crafted completely around the melody. Whether the tempo is at its standard upbeat pace, or slowed down at points, the choruses will have you tapping your foot and singing along when you don't even realize it. The album's title track, "Never Take Friendship Personal," sets a great pace with the intertwining guitar work and hits you with one of the catchiest choruses on the entire album. Amidst the solid guitar work in the album's third track, "Stationary Stationery," the other of the album's catchiest choruses hits you, and again has you singing along. "The Symphony of Blasé" follows that up to slow down the album's tempo, with a song that's sure to stir the emotions of some people, though I find it to be one of the more forgettable tracks on the album. There's just not a lot of substance to it, and while I appreciate the diversity in tempos Anberlin can provide, it interrupts the flow more than anything. While the vocals are where Anberlin are most strongly suited, the lyrics bring out some weaknesses in songwriting structure.

Compared to the other aspects of the album, it just doesn't seem as much thought was put into crafting solid lyrical content as there could have been. "The Runaway" is one instance where the instrumentation sets a great structure to things, with some thick bass lines and interesting chord progressions, but since the vocals are at such a forefront, the lyrics are also at an added focus; "Time will tell, time will tell or tear us apart / Miles away, silence reveals where you really are / You only stand to break my heart." There's really no Christian undertones in the lyrics, save a few lines in "The Feel Good Drag" where the devil is mentioned. Outside of that, however, the religion is kept at a non-existent level. Lyrical subjects appear to stick mostly to relationships, and similar themes that one would expect from a band of this nature. That really is the only detraction from an otherwise sound album. The actual music is definitely not an afterthought, as it ends up being with similar bands. The production accents each musician well, with the exception of the drummer who's rarely heard from. Anberlin tinker with a few different guitar styles, sometimes darker and more distorted, other times letting the clean guitar accent the harmonies.

Creating an interesting piece of music while bringing nothing new to the table is not something easily accomplished, but Never Take Friendship Personal is one hell of a guilty pleasure. It's quite possible that in a months time this record will have completely left my musical registry, but for the time that it's here it's making for quite an enjoyable listen. Anberlin aren't breaking any walls down, or changing people's very conception of what music is, but I'm sure they're perfectly content in letting their choruses sink into your head for a week or two.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
darkdouchebagdarrel (August 27, 2008)

This album is very enjoyable. Very catchy.

xartaficial_romance (November 21, 2007)

very good cd. maybe one of the best ones i own

Satelliteyrs (October 2, 2006)

great cd

Anonymous (January 31, 2006)

Anberlin is a truley awesome band. They have extreme talent and they actually sing about something worth singing about. Christian music sure has a lot more emotion than a lot of music. They deliver with a cd that delivers uplifting vocals and great sound. They are very unique and distinct. I dont know how you cant like this band.

muskawo_ (August 3, 2005)

I downloaded this an dht efirst song was the monkey island theme song, and I was happy.

Anonymous (April 6, 2005)

I am totally addicted to the new ANBERLIN CD!!! I first heard it driving home from track practice in my best guy friend's car. he totally loves the band too!! my favorites are Paperthin Hymn and Stationary Stationary. I have never really been into this kind of music, but ANBERLIN got me hooked!!!

Marlon (April 5, 2005)

It's like a Down to Earth Approach that sucks less... Not to say I like them but they don't all out suck. You could do much worst.

iheartadam (April 4, 2005)

Liar.

allison_le_gnome (April 4, 2005)

""1. It's a Christian label.

2. They toured with Straylight Run.

3. They toured with Hawthorne Heights.

There's not a chance in the universe of me listening to this."

Then why is it #7 in your Scrobbles huh bitch?"

It's not. To be honest, I've never even heard them in my life.

iheartadam (April 4, 2005)

"1. It's a Christian label.

2. They toured with Straylight Run.

3. They toured with Hawthorne Heights.

There's not a chance in the universe of me listening to this."

Then why is it #7 in your Scrobbles huh bitch?

tristan (April 3, 2005)

Quite possibly the most charming record of early 2005.

maverick (April 3, 2005)

The lyrics can be horrifically cheesy at times, but I'll be damned if "Paperthin Anthem" is one of the best songs I've heard this year, thus far. It's a fun pop disc.

-Scott

allison_le_gnome (April 3, 2005)

On top of the reasons already stated, this is a fucking stupid album title.

Anonymous (April 3, 2005)

I want Anberlin's singer to defecate in a bag and throw it in the crowd, like DEP's singer did at Reading 2002. I swear to God I would put a stick in it, freeze it, then lick it like a popsicle.

-sickboi

allison_le_gnome (April 3, 2005)

1. It's a Christian label.

2. They toured with Straylight Run.

3. They toured with Hawthorne Heights.

There's not a chance in the universe of me listening to this.

iheartadam (April 2, 2005)

Actually, if you want to read REAL, real reviews, go to my myballspunk. No really. My balls.

Band sucks....Anchors, toss this shit aweigh man. HAHAHA GET IT?!?! Awesomez.

Anonymous (April 1, 2005)

"Anchors, you made my day. Good review, I was expecting someone to bash the shit out of this."

you MUST understand, if this isn't lawrence arms, none more black, against me, dillinger 4, paint it black or sometimes even strike anywhere, it WILL get bashed. if you want real reviews go to pastepunk.

Anonymous (April 1, 2005)

i dislike this band, but i thought it was a nice review. Not too long, not too short, not overly selfreflexive, not totally detatched.

wyzo

stevejonestherealbones (April 1, 2005)

well, how do you feel as a music reviewer...

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

ElVaquero (April 1, 2005)

They sound very good, good skills and lots of cohesiveness. But this genre/voice holds no interest for me.

opivykid (April 1, 2005)

This band is a fucking joke.

Anonymous (April 1, 2005)

For some reason, my ex-girlfriend wanted me to burn this cd for her, so i was feeling nice & went on soulseek & downloaded it. I was expecting some shitty emocore crap like From First To Last, but man, I have to say I enjoyed what i heard. Strong vocals, a few fun riffs, and catchy as hell.

Anchors, you made my day. Good review, I was expecting someone to bash the shit out of this.

Anonymous (April 1, 2005)

One of the best of the year in my opinion!

Anonymous (April 1, 2005)

This score was an April Fool's joke, right?

OC

Anonymous (April 1, 2005)

This band sucks horribly. Everything about the album is an afterthought.

swingline (April 1, 2005)

now THIS is good music.

Anonymous (April 1, 2005)

I think the best way to describe this is "blah."

Anonymous (April 1, 2005)

"This may be the worst band currently recording music "

one of.

Anonymous (April 1, 2005)

This may be the worst band currently recording music

p.s. they also used to be on conservativepunk.com - i think they were booted off for sounding like maroon 5

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