Blueprints For The Black Market


Tooth & Nail, 2002

REVIEW BY: Benny Balneg


When your music hints at Christianity, you will fall into its black-hole subcategory in the music world resigned for those CCM artists. In fact, Christian music is such a moot point for an artist to be in that most of them deny their affinity to the genre (think Creed).

Anberlin is one of those bands that “suffer” from being part of a Christian label and whose muscular alt-rock leaning also has a lyrical bent towards an omniscient being, similar to alternative rockers Live and Collective Soul.

Whatever. Personally, I don't really care what genre a particular band is playing just as long as the song is good. I also wouldn't mind if Jars Of Clay is signed by Osmose Records, or if Darkthrone songs get played on my nearest church. A simple riff here, a hook there and a sing-along chorus would definitely make my day. I'm a simple man, which is why my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Blueprints For The Black Market appeals to my simple tastes.

This is not to say that Anberlin is a “simple” band. Yes, they write their songs like a starving young artist would, but they have this gift that only a few bands possess. In one word, catchiness. They can pretty much hammer a particular line in your head like a birthmark especially if it's written like their damn-it's-so-infectious “Foreign Language.” It is a pop-laden song with tight performances from the band members, but the vocal fills courtesy of Ryan Stiles look-alike Stephen Christian is so memorable in its simplicity that you will unconsciously hum the tune before going to Mass.

However, most of the better songs have a more pungent, strong sound, thanks in part to the punchy, beefy rhythm section by bassist Deon Rexroat and drummer Nathan Young. Singles “Readyfuels” and “Change The World” are examples of the hard-rocking numbers, with the help of Joey Bruce and Joseph Milligan's tasty riffs.

The only fault of this album is the inconsistent songwriting. Aside from “We Dream In Heist,” listeners can skip the entirety of the album's middle part, highlighted by an awkward and discomforting take of the Cure's “Love Song.” This becomes pretty understandable at a certain level, because neophyte artists have the tendency to focus on their quality songs and just write filler songs at first.

“Cadence,” while boasting the heaviest music in the album, also produces the most rousing chorus in the album with its fleeting sound lifting the listeners to the highest heavens (“The closer I come to you / The closer I am to finding out / You're a miracle to me”) until its slams you down to riff purgatory. “Naive Orleans” is pretty much the clincher of the album, as the emotive vocals and mellifluous performance leaves you repeating the song again and again. In fact, the lyrics from this album are one of the strongest and most sincere that I have heard for a while (“And I finally found that life goes on without you / And the world still turns when you're not alone").

Christian or not, despite the unremarkable middle part of the album, Anberlin made a believer out of me with Blueprints For The Black Market.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2007 Benny Balneg and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Tooth & Nail, and is used for informational purposes only.