Anberlin Conquers the 'Impossible' on New Album

Anberlin Frontman Juggles Grad School with Music

Anberlin's new single has taught frontman Stephen Christian that nothing is, well, "impossible."


The song, currently sitting at No. 18 on the Alternative Songs Chart and the No. 1 Greatest Gainer for three weeks in a row, is plowing a strong path for the Florida modern-rockers' upcoming fifth album, "Dark is the Way, Light Is a Place," due Sept. 21. That comes as something of a surprise to the singer.

"Just a few weeks before the album was finished I hated (the song)," Christian tells Billboard.com. "I was like, 'I don't want that. I want that off the record.' We had done so much to that song, I felt like it had lost its...allure, its luster. It had gotten lost in translation.


"But there were people who felt like the song had to stay," he continues. "So we went back and rewrote the entire introduction with the guitar picking and added a lot of ethereal, low backup vocals, and we switched some parts around. Our A&R from Universal was there and he was like, 'That's your single!'...Greater minds prevailed. We were very lucky to go from, 'Hey, get that song off the record, I never want to hear it again!' to, 'I guess America wants to hear this first, so that's what's going to happen.' "


One of those greater minds, according to Christian, was producer Brendan O'Brien, who after being introduced to Anberlin's music by his daughter approached the group with an offer to helm "Dark is the Way, Light Is a Place."


"Our manager called us and said, 'Hey, I'm not joking...Brendan O'Brien wants to meet with you guys," Christian recalls with a laugh. "We were just blown away, you know? We were debating between producers, but after meeting with him, there was no other decision to be made."


Christian describes the rest of "Dark is the Way, Light Is a Place," whose title hails from a Dylan Thomas poem, as more "sober" than "Impossible." "It's just saying, 'Here's the raw reality of this life and this world, and at the end of the day there's still hope,' " he explains. "It is a very sobering record...I feel like this record is like a coming of age novel -- 'Listen, you're not alone. Everybody here struggles. Everybody's in the same place.' "


Anberlin is currently sketching out tour plans to promote the new album, including a short late-summer European run followed by a North American tour with Crash Kings and Civil Twilight in the fall. The U.K. and more European shows will follow, and the new year will bring Australia, Japan, southeast Asia and South America before a late spring/early summer return to North America.

Meanwhile, Christian also has some plans for Anchor & Braille, his side project with Copeland's Aaron Marsh, including a vinyl release of its 2009 debut album "Felt" and some early discussions about a second album, which might be in his "spare time" during breaks from the Anberlin tour.