On their fifth album, Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place, Anberlin continue down the path they started down on New Surrender with a sound that’s even more layered and dense. Utilizing the talents of Grammy-winning producer Brendan O’Brien, the band’s sound has evolved in a way that’s manages to be less poppy while sounding decidedly more pop, with the album having a casual slickness to it that makes it sound like something that belongs on the radio rather than an something that’s trying to be on the radio. Part of this comes from the band borrowing heavily from U2’s playbook. The songs feel more expansive, utilizing lots of delay-heavy guitars to fill more space with simpler melodies, creating a lush musical landscape for singer Stephen Christian’s vocals to explore. This new direction goes a long way towards separating Anberlin from the rest of the emo-rock pack, giving them a little something to help them standout to the uninitiated while delivering the plaintive pop will please everyone that’s already made a connection with the band. While they might miss some of the drive that the band brought to the table in their earlier work, the depth of slower and more spacious songs like “Take Me (As You Found Me)” should ultimately prove more rewarding in the long run.
Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place Review
by Gregory Heaney