After releasing so many albums on a smaller label, many would claim a band who then moved onto a major label to become instant sell-outs, and in instances such as Eighteen Visions this can lead to a band’s untimely demise. Anberlin are another one of such bands to sign to a major label after an indie one, and as expected they’ve received the ‘sell-out’ comments, but just because a band has signed to a major label doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll instantly become piss poor commercial artists, but instead a band with a now wider musical playing field to work with.
‘New Surrender’ doesn’t come across as commercial enough of a record to deem the band as a sell-out flop of an act, but at the same time is stripped of any properties with any particles of obscurity or technicalities that makes an alternative band stand out from a pop band, or make an exiciting records stand out from a boring one. Nevertheless, ‘New Surrender’ does have its moments of excitement, opening with a punk-esque ridden anthem ‘The Resistance’ bringing along a rebellious chorus line “Speak for yourself / You paper tigers / You’ll crash where you stand / You’ve got a riot on your hands” pushing the fact of this statement further. ‘Feel Good Drag’ also has a more in your face rock force powering it above the rest of the crop too, powered with guitars wrapped with distortion and Stephen Christian spitting out his lyrics a little more often than usual. Though it’s nice to have a bit of variety on most alternative rock records to bring refreshment to the table, acoustic and mellow numbers being the obvious choice for such an approach, Anberlin don’t make it an exciting or moving input into the record. It’s harsh but fairly accurate to state that tracks like ‘Breathe’ and ‘Retrace’ could very possibly put you to sleep.
Major label signings don’t necessarily mean that an act will sell-out, but that they’re gonna gain a bit more spotlight attention and more longevity in their career. ‘New Surrender’ doesn’t look like an album that’s gonna move Anberlin any further towards or away from the spotlight.
Written by Zach Redrup