Anberlin's latest release of Lost Songs- a compilation of demos, rarities, and covers- is the band's last project before parting ways with Seattle-based Tooth and Nail Records with their anticipated move to Universal Republic Records. Many devoted fans will find themselves already in possession of a good handful of songs featured on this compilation, if not more. However, the remaining tracks- mainly unreleased songs, acoustic sessions, and demos- are golden and an ideal to any Anberlin collection.
Lost Songs is filled with multiple covers and tracks that were previously released on the special edition of their latest studio project, Cities. The beautiful B-side track, "The Haunting," begins the compilation and is a stunning example of the band's musical abilities as well as the vocal abilities of lead singer, Stephen Christian. "Uncanny," a pop-rock, Blueprints for the Black Market-esque track, also adorns the album as well as multiple, impressive covers. A notable highlight of this compilation is their cover of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence." Without straying too far from the original's sound, Anberlin puts a special touch on this dance-worthy song with impressive guitars and drums. The Smith's "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" is covered very nicely as well and has a sound distinctly different from Anberlin, adding a nice switch in style. Other covers include Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" and When In Rome's "The Promise."
Typically, when listening to a band's acoustic performances, you're able to measure their true musical capabilities and limitations. With the acoustic tracks presented on Lost Songs, it is very evident that this band is composed of talented musicians who have matured over the years. The typically energetic "A Day Late" takes a more mellow turn in its acoustic form and gives the listener a new aspect to view and experience it in. It still carries its beauty and popularity, though. In stark contrast to the Cities version, "Distmantle.Repair" definitely has its weaknesses as an acoustic song. Vocally, the song lacks its intensity and epic, emotional feel. While its presentation is in fact more raw, it feels like it is missing something. The music, however, is able to sustain the song- especially the beautiful hints of piano found throughout it. Two tracks from Blueprints also make the acoustic cuts- "Cadence" and "Naïve Orleans"- which are wonderfully done. Other acoustic performances include "Inevitable" and "Unwinding Cable Car," as well as a cover of Radiohead's "Creep"- all of which were performed during their time at AOL's Sessions Undercover (Note: unfortunately, the band uses the word "h*ll" in this song inappropriately in the chorus, however, they do not use the "F" word that Radiohead features in their original).
Lastly, the rarities found on Lost Songs range from unreleased songs to demos that go back to the early Blueprints days of Anberlin. The demos of "Ready Fuels," "Driving (Autobahn)," and "Everything in Between" are quite entertaining to listen to, especially after growing accustomed to the beloved fan favorites that first came out in 2003. It is very neat to be able to pick out the changes that were made during the production and recording process and what finally led to the final products. "Downtown Song"- an unreleased song from Never Take Friendship Personal- is a great add-in as well. Its upbeat sound really picks up the tone of the record which is scattered with low-key acoustics. Also, the favorite Christmas tune, "Baby Please Come Home,"- which was featured on Tooth and Nail's Happy Christmas Volume 4 in 2006- is appropriate for the up-coming season, yet is somewhat out of place with the rest of what's on the record. The only major disappointment found in Lost Songs is the closer: "Glass To The Arson (16 Bit Remix)," which very closely resembles the polyphonic ringtones available to download from online cellular companies. It does a horrible job of wrapping up this album that is full of treasures and surprises.
Even for a dedicated fan, this album gives so much variety that we, as listeners and fans, do not normally get to hear and experience from bands. Lost Songs is a perfect chance to grasp every angle of Anberlin's musical being. It also is a perfect way to see how far this Orlando-based band has come in the four years they've been on the market. To hear the demos from Blueprints and compare them to the epic song that is "The Haunting"- the change is dramatic and astounding. For fanatic and casual fans alike, this album is sure to be a favorite as it delivers 19 solid tracks of gold, each differing in some way.- Review date: 11/21/07, written by Lindsay Wiseman
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