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After...

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Review by Larry Toering

After... are an outfit from Poland formed in 2002. This is their third release and involves production with the musicians of the acclaimed British act Pineapple Thief. There are a lot of great acts coming out of Poland right now and these guys are certainly among that list. This is a fine recording with a few heavy parts but it's mostly modern AOR/prog material. This is not exactly the kind you will hear on US radio, but it's airplay ready stuff. US radio just isn't prepared for such excellence it seems.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
All Left Behind

This is an opener that instantly establishes After...’s energy level, and high energy it is. In fact because of their chemistry I would call it more like high synergy. But things don't start off that way. It begins with a mellow vibe then builds into a frenzy, with ups and downs in the arrangement. It's an overall smashing way to begin this interesting album. The vocal melodies are amazing, as well as the drum track with its pulsating rhythm.

Enchanted
This track is mellower throughout, and it suits them well, as most of the album is this tempo. The percussion stands out here more than anything, but the vocals are interesting as well, with some nice howling parts.
Summer Fuss
All kinds of changes in this one, with the tempo going up and down as it wears on. Acoustic sweeping really enhances this number. But it's hard to tell what it's all about, even reading the lyrics. It's best to imagine that stuff and just enjoy.
Carried By The Wind
Drifting about the wind is the subject matter here, and so far this is the most interesting track, with a moving vocal that begs for repeat listens. This is a magnificent performance by all, with great hooks and fills, and once again the drums kick hard.
Resurrection
It just gets more interesting as it goes, with this one being the heaviest rocking track so far. This is where it gets very intense but doesn't threaten the mellow dominance of the album while they're at it. This is another killer no matter how you slice it.
My Straight Path
Staying the course, this moves along with with less speed and outbursts of energy but the essence of their power prevails by the end of it, as it goes into build up mode. This is a fine number that keeps my interest more than anything on offer up to this point on the disc. It's simply fantastic!
The Mention...
This one, too, is a highlight for sure, as it's a lovely melodic number with some of the most comprehensive vocals on the disc. I love this one perhaps more than the rest, but it's no easier to describe what's going on amongst the likability it oozes. This one features a beefy rhythm section and some guitar improvisation.
Good Things Are Worth Waiting For
They certainly got the title right, as this tops out as some of the most interesting and eclectic stuff here. Challenging every other tune on offer in the tempo change department, this has the most ups and downs to offer. And it's somehow consistently one of the best, as well.
Hope's Still Alive
More consistency is displayed here, as this one drives a harder groove and shows how massively well this band plays together. This is another of the more satisfying numbers. In fact it's likely the most accessible track, with more of an AOR vibe than the rest. When I say “AOR,” I do mean it in the proggy sense. This is very artistic music but it's also a very refined production, and perhaps that is attributing to Pineapple Thief's involvement.
Happiness
This is the mellowest track on the album, but easily a contender for third or fourth of the album’s best tunes. It's just so easy to listen to. It's a rare thing of beauty, this one.

 

 
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