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Drew Beringer 08/07/12 02:10 AM

Anchor & Braille - The Quiet Life
Anchor & BrailleThe Quiet Life
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Record Label: Tooth & Nail

It's kind of funny that Anchor & Braille's second album is titled The Quiet Life, since it's anything but. While this collection of songs isn't as in your face as Stephen Christian's other band Anberlin, his latest effort with his side project is incredibly vibrant and varied. After proving that this project wasn't just a retread of slower Anberlin-esque songs with his 2009 debut Felt, Christian's eclectic musical interests is all over The Quiet Life. Reuniting with his other band's former label Tooth & Nail, The Quiet Life takes what worked on Felt, refined it, and added in some new twists and turns to create one of the best releases Christian has ever been a part of.

The Quiet Life begins with the snappy electro-drum beat of “Goes Without Saying,” as Christian's luscious vocals mesh immaculately with the song's tender piano keys. It feels like it'll be the perfect song for those crisp fall afternoons as it sets the tone for the album, incorporating a variety of tones, melodies, and sounds together. The instantly catchy “Knew Then Know Now” is triggered by more electronic glitches and keys, while the subdued “Find Me” showcases Christian's classic croon over distant guitar tones.

Throughout the album, Christian and company (Kevin Dailey of Civil Twilight and Micah Tawlks join Christian this time around) explore different musical stylings. One minute Anchor & Braille is channeling its inner MUTEMATH on “In With The New," only to follow it up with the somber “If Not Now When.” Now that Christian has one solo effort under his belt, he definitely seems more comfortable taking chances on The Quiet Life while making the album warmer and more intimate; inviting the listener into his psyche.

While Felt could feel like a chore to get through at times with its reliance on one tempo, The Quiet Life remains unpredictable. The aggressive “Kodachrome,” with its gritty guitar chords and industrial drum pace, breaks away from the general pristine nature of the album. And even though “Collapse” doesn't move at a break neck speed, its swelling strings and Christian's persistent vocals give the track a sense of urgency.

Anchor & Braille can still knock a ballad out of the park though – you'll be transfixed immediately by the graceful “Hymn for Her.” Album closer “Before I Start Dreaming” slowly builds into a lovely outpouring of synth, horns, chords, and more (showing off the extreme talent of A&B's contributors); concluding the album in a dream-like trance (as the title suggests).

Over the years, Stephen Christian has grown wiser, more aware of the world and industry around him. But instead of becoming jaded, he's maintained his positive outlook on life, even if it isn't perfect all the time. Some may mistake Anchor & Braille as Christian's “soft side” when really it's his outlet to showcase the type of musician he has become. It's allowed Christian to rediscover that passion and sense of vulnerability again, and he achieves that with The Quiet Life - a chaotic beauty of an album as well as his most personal and eloquent effort to date.


Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Goes Without Saying
2. Knew Then Know Now
3. Find Me
4. In With The New
5. If Not Now When
6. Kodachrome
7. Collapse
8. Hymn for Her
9. Everybody Here Wants You
10. Before I Start Dreaming
Produced by: Kevin Dailey and Micah Tawlks

Anchor & Braille is:
Stephen Christian

Official AP.net Profile; Official Website; Official Facebook Profile Official Twitter Account

DandonTRJ 08/07/12 03:33 AM

Nailed it. Felt is a beautiful album to me, but TQL is definitely the more confident and fully-realized effort.

emoboy333 08/07/12 04:44 AM

Felt is way better than The Quiet Life to me. It's a good record but in the end it's really boring. Like the last Anberlin.

FaceLixeMurder 08/07/12 04:51 AM

Felt was never a chore to get through, but overall this album is better I think.

Anthony Sorendino 08/07/12 05:20 AM

After one listen, I wasn't a huge fan, but there were parts I liked. "Hymn For Her" is beautiful.

Gregory Robson 08/07/12 06:43 AM

See, this feels like perfection to me. But I think I'm too much of a Stephen Christian homer to ever find flaw in his craft.

jordalsh 08/07/12 06:49 AM

Awesome review, I love this album

dash64 08/07/12 08:18 AM

Great album, but I feel like Felt is better. Summer Tongues is incredible and nothing on this album really matches the beauty of that song.

spezialk 08/07/12 08:18 AM

Straight 8's is a spot on score for this record. Great review.

Shakriel 08/07/12 08:19 AM

Good review. I've already listened to this album more than I ever did Felt.

brandonisstupid 08/07/12 08:41 AM

I actually agree that this feels less like a chore then Felt did. I enjoyed Felt, but some of the stuff on there felt like songs that were not Anberlin friendly or songs that he had written awhile ago. The Quiet Life had more of a purpose in mind. At least to me it did.

awakeohsleeper 08/07/12 10:12 AM

I never listened to Felt but I really ought to check this out.

tacosforcharles 08/07/12 11:15 AM

Wonderful album. I think I like it a bit more than Felt, but they are close.

guitarguy211 08/07/12 11:21 AM

I couldnt ever get through Felt, it didnt really do anything for me. However, while not my favorite album of the year by far, this album was enjoyable for a few listens.

Good review too!

brothemighty 08/07/12 12:00 PM


Originally Posted by dash64 (Post 111530332)
Great album, but I feel like Felt is better. Summer Tongues is incredible and nothing on this album really matches the beauty of that song.

Seconded about Summer Tongues, but I'm still really into this album