Anchor & Braille



The 11 songs on Anchor & Braille’s debut were four years in the making for Anberlin frontman Stephen Christian, each written and recorded between Anberlin’s albums and tours. In such a case, one expects the disc (produced by Copeland frontman Aaron Marsh), to sound something like Christian’s primary project. But the tracks on Felt exist in their own musical sphere, resonating with quiet, emotive tension. Occasionally (like on the surging “Blur”), Christian’s distinctive voice reminds the listener where he comes from, but generally the album is its own creation–and its songs contain a distinct beauty.

“Blur” layers a dulcet, hushed melody with Christian’s aching vocals as he sings, “Can’t tell where I stop/And you begin,” while the piano-driven “Calm, Calm Yourself” is lovely and delicately orchestral. “Wedding/Funeral” pairs the piano with static drums, building to an earnest chorus where Christian wails, “Why did I let you go?/How could I let you leave my side?/Would have been something amazing.” The rest of the songs are equally introspective and moody, invoking a sense of falling dusk: Marsh’s talent for production is also evident throughout the disc. He transforms Christian’s thoughtful songs into complex, ethereal arrangements while allowing Christian’s emotional urgency to seep into each layer.

Felt is both beautiful and impressive, showcasing the talents of two musicians whose musical skills are not always so explicitly evident in their other bands. Or perhaps Felt just reveals a new facet of those talents–and it’s a facet of which we hope to see more. (WOODWATER) Emily Zemler