Stephen Christian's Explanations on the Origins of the Anberlin Moniker:
a) Planned name for his daughter.
b) Thinking about cities in Europe he wanted to visit. In his mind he listed "London, Paris, Rome, and Berlin." Felt "And Berlin" would make a good band name.
c) Thought that's what Radiohead was singing in the song 'Everything In Its Right Place."
At one time or another, Christian has stated that one of the above was the origin of the band's name. So pick your favorite.
Anberlin formed in '02 following the disintegration of the Christian Rock group SaGoh 24/7 (Servants After Gods Own Heart). Vocalist Stephen Christian, guitarist Joseph Milligan and bassist Deon Rexroat decided to press on. They were joined by rhythm guitarist Joey Bruce and drummer Nathan Young.
Shortly after Anberlin's formation, the Winter Haven (FL) group was approached by Tooth & Nail Records where they released '03's "Blueprints For The Black Market" with the single "Readyfuels." A solid start but the album failed to chart.
More disconcerting were the problems with Bruce who was ejected from the group for showing excessive zeal in the "sex and drugs" department and straying in a different direction from the rest of the band. Guitarists came and went until Nathan Strayer arrived for what turned out to be a three-year stay.
Next up was '05's "Never Take Friendship Personal." This album did chart but it was in the nether regions of the Billboard 200 (#144). Still, a pair of singles, "A Day Late" and "Paperthin Hymn" managed to nick the Modern Rock chart.
One day before the release of "Cities" in '07, the announcement came that Strayer had amicably left the band. He was replaced by Christian McAlhaney.
More changes were on the way. After a long tenure with Tooth & Nail Records and producer Aaron Sprinkle, Anberlin signed with Universal Republic (a major label) and decided to work with 'name' producer Neal Avron (New Found Glory and Fall Out Boy). "We're very excited about working with Neal; I think our fans are going to be pleased when they hear the final result," said Christian in an interview. He also tried to broaden his lyrical scope. "When you try to write 29 songs lyrically you find yourself topically working in circles; I only go through so much in one year, but - I have dedicated myself to begin searching books, art, and friends for new directions."
But before any new tracks were laid down, Anberlin issued "Lost Songs," a compilation of previously unreleased material, in late '07.
"New Surrender" came out in late '08 and made its debut at #13 on the Billboard 200 album chart selling 36,000 units in its first week. In addition to the chart success, a "New Surrender" song, "A Perfect Tourniquet," was released on the soundtrack for the TV show 90210.
Anberlin then embarked on an extensive U.S. tour followed by a U.K. trek. With that completed, the group went to Nashville in early '10 to record their fifth studio album, "Dark Is The Way, Light Is The Place." The title was taken from the Dylan Thomas "Poem On His Birthday."
Released later in the year, the album, like its predecessor, cracked the Top 10 on the Billboard chart (#9). "I feel like we're on the brink of something... either world domination or destruction, but either way we're on the brink," said Christian.
2003 Blueprints For The Black Market
2005 Never Take Friendship Personal
2007 Cities (
2008 New Surrender
2010 Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place
Anberlin are both urgent and melodic. They jangle through the verse, then get gritty on the chorus.