Anberlin Never Take Friendship Personal

Following up on their debut, Blueprints for the Black Market, Anberlin come to once again join the crowd of well-dressed young men crying/screaming woeful tales of lonely hotel rooms and failed relationships with the new full-length, Never Take Friendship Personal. These four Florida natives are likely to gather a strong fan base of sobbing teenage girls. Beyond their faux-grunge image and heavy minor key ballads, Anberlin probably won’t do much to excite the average music fan over the age of 16. Produced by Aaron Sprinkle (Pedro the Lion, MxPx), Never Take Friendship Personal is well put together, however. It’s clean, nicely layered, and has a balance that flows with the right amount of heaviness that doesn’t going overboard. But that’s just it — it doesn’t only stay on the safe side, it doesn’t go anywhere. Anberlin stay in the same place, whining out lyrics that have the potential to inspire some wrist-slashing, sung over the same keyboards and feedback-ridden guitars. Before long, every song has melded into one. Falling into line with Story of the Year and the Used, Anberlin can sound and look pretty, but their appeal will probably stay with listeners who are still holding high school grudges. (Tooth and Nail)