Mondays mean BandsOnBands, and we’re excited to be posting the still-new PropertyOfZack feature today with Anchor & Braille. The band is gearing up to release their sophomore album, The Quiet Life, tomorrow via Tooth & Nail Records, so make sure to download the LP here. In this week’s feature, Stephen Christian dives into one of his largest influences, Morrissey. Stephen’s journey of discovering Morrissey and subsequently The Smiths is an incredibly interesting story and worth reading for any fan of Anchor & Braille, Anberlin, or Morrissey himself. Make sure to listen to great songs by Morrissey and The Smiths on Spotify here and check out what Stephen had to say about one of his biggest influences below!
From Stephen Christian of Anchor & Braille:
I had let a friend of mine stay with me for the last few weeks of our junior year in high school, he was having troubles at home and just needed a place to crash while his parents sorted out what was left of their relationship. he and I drew pretty close and he introduced me to dance music, and I turned him on to new school punk rock.
About a month later things at home were straight, and he was packing up his cardboard box-turned-suitcase. as a gift he left me with two items that I still have to this day: A navy peacoat that belonged to a family member and a copy Vauxhall And I, an album that looked like that it had been in a few different cardboard boxes for a couple of years prior. the cover was an off-peach color and a solitaire man posed on the cover. Though both of us exposed each other to new types of music, our tastes never amalgamated so my expectations of this new acquisition were rather low.
The album sat on my shelf for a few months until one day the weather prohibited me from going anywhere else. As I stared up at the ceiling each lullaby sank deeper and deeper, by the end of the night I had listened to the record on repeat for more than 3 1/2 hours. For the next year, the album never left my player. Ironically, it would take more than a year to learn that this singer was actually a part of a band a decade prior called The Smiths, whom would become the most influential band in my musical career.
Stephen Christian harbors one of the great voices in the alternative scene today. As frontman of alternative rock quintet Anberlin, Christian has found great success, thanks in large part, to his distinct counter-tenor. Yet, while he often pushes his voice to the limits with Anberlin, Christian’s side-project, Anchor & Braille, showcases his voice’s versatility and true beauty. Anchor & Braille’s sophomore album, The Quiet Life, finds Christian excelling at an opposite spectrum, soothingly navigating a lush musical landscape. The Quiet Life is an aural treat.
The Quiet Life takes the beauty of Anchor & Braille’s debut, 2009’s Felt, and expands on the its best aspects. With a keener attention to detail, Christian, along with producers Kevin Dailey (who plays keyboard on the album) and Micah Tawlks (who plays guitar on the album), create a opulent musical setting that is both demonstrative and sparse. Christian’s gentle voice serves as the perfect layer to the entire production. Think the richest piece of milk chocolate melting in your mouth and you have the food equivalent to The Quiet Life.
Tracks such as the dreamy “Collapse” and piano-laden ballad “Hymn for Her” exemplify Christian’s vocal control. Whereas on Felt Anchor & Braille relied on similar compositions throughout, The Quiet Life brings in numerous new sounds to help diversify the rather akin lyrical themes. The Quiet Life is about love and longing. On the aforementioned “Hymn for Her,” Christian softly croons, “I don’t want to find someone I can live with // I just want to find someone I can’t live without.” Or on the sultry “Everybody Here Wants You” Christian yearns, “Such a thing of wonder in this crowd // I’m a stranger in this town // You’re free with me,” over one of the sexier beats on The Quiet Life.
Yet it is on The Quiet Life’s middle section that Anchor & Braille truly stretch their wings. The dance-y “In with the New” is reminiscent of Portugal. The Man and showcases a different side of Christian: a pop sensibility often hidden with Anberlin below the layers of guitar. It is a refreshing rush of air that wakes the listener up from hypnotization. The surprising “Kodachrome” emphasizes a dirtier side of Anchor & Braille, as an aggressive beats serves as the driving force to which Christian’s vocals are distorted just right. Both tracks hint at a progression unheard of on Felt.
Anchor & Braille have confirmed that they will be announcing a tour very soon. Check out a tweet from the band below by clicking “Read More.”
Anchor & Braille Album Title, Artwork, Release Date