Anberlin’s music has never really reflected the company that they have kept.
Touring with the likes of My Chemical Romance, Story of the Year and a number of punk inspired label mates has given the impression that they are cut from the same cloth. ‘Blueprints For the Blackmarket’-the debut album for the Christian label Tooth and Nail-was a noteworthy emo release and illustrated Anberlin’s ear for pop hooks and crunching guitar on staples like ‘Ready Fuels’ and ‘Foreign Language’.
‘NTFP’ sees Anberlin take things up another gear. The “love them or hate them” helium aided vocals of ex-SaGoh front man Stephen Christian bring to mind a rock version of Morrissey on the delicate ballad ‘Symphony of Blasé’ or on the epic and absurdly titled ‘Dance Dance Christina Paffgen’. But it’s on the faster paced material that Christian and indeed Anberlin excel. The frenetic power-pop of ‘Stationary Stationery’ or the title track compete in the convoluted lyric stakes with the crushing but melodic ‘Paperthin Hymn’ or the heavy metal tinged ‘Time and Confusion’.
Expertly produced by Aaron Sprinkle, with no fillers whatsoever, ‘Never Take Friendship Personal’ sets a clear benchmark for modern hard rock in 2005. Few bands if any will get anywhere near it!