That album title does have something of an accuracy to it. ‘Songs For The Late Night Drive Home’ is Stephen Christian’s first post-Anberlin Anchor & Braille album, and it couldn’t sound more different than his previous band. Anberlin’s surging emo/post-hardcore has been scrapped, and in its place stand ten tracks of largely minimalist electro-pop with a slight darkness that, as the title suggests, would make them ideal for a late night drive.
Christian himself certainly suits this type of music. His breathier style fits with the light pulse of a beat on ‘Chances’, while they lift the new romantic style of ‘Fatal Flaw’ to one of the best songs The Cars never wrote.
There’s a very likely chance of alienating many long-time Anberlin fans, but for more of a release, Anchor & Braille acts as a journey through a number of sedate but largely varying genres, most of which are pulled off well. ‘Live Fast, Die Young’ has a pretty good stab at tropical house, and there’s a billowing ’80s synthpop influence at the heart of ‘Detroit Stab’.
As is to be expected, there are a couple of duff moments, namely the overly clunky nature of ‘Lower East Side’ and closer ‘Still Looking’. Despite this, ‘Songs For The Late Night Drive Home’ is a surprisingly slick and well-executed album. There’s nothing on here that would top Anberlin’s best moments, but to consciously look for moments like that is probably to miss the point. Anchor & Braille is evidently meant to stand as its own identity, and judging by this album, it’s got some pretty stable footing to stand on.
‘Songs For The Late Night Drive Home’ by Anchor & Braille is released on 5th February on Tooth & Nail Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)