Anberlin expands its grasp of what a rock record can be with their third studio album, Cities. The Florida quintet's cohesive and adventurous new album uplifts as much as it initiates thought and elicits emotion. The writing team of singer Stephen Christian and guitarist Joseph Milligan drives Anberlin, alongside veteran producer Aaron Sprinkle, to a new frontier with vastly widened boundaries on Cities.
Unlike most emo bands that merely offer a laundry list of personal hardships over the sound of loud guitars, the members of Anberlin know that they can seek salvation in a higher power, so the songs on Cities
aren't so much about self-pity as self-preservation. It's a refreshing twist on the formula, especially when paired with the industrial-strength hooks the spiritual Florida band knocks out on tracks like "Dismantle. Repair." and "Godspeed." On the latter, the group's frontman Stephen Christian lashes out against the bad habits of his secular counterparts: "Tell them who you were, who you really were/Kill yourself slowly over time, fashion statement suicide." --Aidin Vaziri