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Vital
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3 Stars - Good
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Artist
Release Date
October 16, 2012
Label
Republic

Style: Synth-heavy post-hardcore rock; compare to Red, The Killers, Depeche Mode

Top tracks: "Innocent," "God, Drugs & Sex," "Orpheum"

Anberlin has lasted ten years while many of its former fellow Tooth & Nail Records alumni have faded into emo oblivion. Its 2010 album hit Billboard's Top 10, but the band's sixth release reveals positive alterations to its formula. Vital is enhanced by female backing vocals and, more significantly, washed with big, splashy synthesizer. The electro-sonics envelop the band's signature post-hardcore guitar rock with pulsating layers and retro-New Wave overtones. Lyrics unravel a cryptic poetry of shadowy unrest, relational regret, and subtle longing for repair. Rare ballad "Innocent" provides a welcome break from the overall frenetic pacing, but the full-speed intensity runs into an often indistinguishable blur.

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