Anberlin absolutely shines on their newest album, Cities.

True enough, many of their critics suggest that Cities is yet another collection of the standard Anberlin fare, and in a sense the critics are correct. Melodically, Anberlin does not diverge significantly from previous works, and the band delivers the same aggressive musicianship for which they are adored.

What makes Cities a meaningfully different album, then, is the level of introspection in which the band engages throughout the project. Cities engenders the human condition, confronting issues of love, failure, disappointment, injustice–just to name only a few. Yet the depth of these existential investigations is not simply thrust upon the listener without warning, but is rather buttressed gracefully by the driving, yet infectious melodies and rhythms which seem to move and fuse seamlessly from track to track, creating a truly epic and album-ic listening experience. This collusion of lyrical depth and melodic intensity underscores the importance of each line, creating an almost desperate yet intoxicating pleading for the full attention and involvement of the listener in the profundity of what is occuring in this primal moment.

In this sense, then, Cities is not meant for easy listening or casual interaction; rather, it’s very form and function demands the full participation of the listener, lest the meaning engendered therein be swallowed by the sickening comfortableness of an unengaged mind, an existence wanting to go to sleep.