This, anything-but-extensive, 10-track album is an attempt by Anberlin to steer away from the pop genre in which they have been encaged, and a hope to mature into a more sophisticated alternative rock tribute. Though you can hear significant effort, Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place is ultimately pop rock. Don’t drink soda while consuming this album.
The vocal textures delivered by Stephen Christian are the strongest asset. The opening track, “We Owe This To Ourselves,” is immediately familiar. Christian’s raspy, serenading voice is both soothing and rousing simultaneously. Familiar is not always a good thing. “You Belong Here” is a re-run of their earlier releases, which will evidently please fans, but seems out of place amidst the rest of their attempt at an established sound.
Instrumentally, they fall short too. The drums are predictable and redundant aside from “To The Wolves,” the strongest track on the album. This song is a synopsis of what the band was aiming for. The electric guitar is riveting and the percussion matches its excitement. “Down” begins strong with intricate guitar riffs paired with dominating bass delivered by Deon Rexroat. Instrumentally, they begin to imitate a younger Smashing Pumpkins, but wind up sounding dragged out and boring by the end.
The lyrics on the album are the weakest. What they lack in length, they also lack in depth. Previous Anberlin albums were written better. Almost every track aside from, “To The Wolves” and closing track “Depraved,” is either cliché, repetitive or both.
In a Word: Deficient