Review Summary: A good effort by the most forgettable band in Australia.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
2009 has been a very interesting year for Australian music. A plethora of albums from many different bands and artists have been released to different levels of success. Rock acts like Eskimo Joe and Powderfinger released their albums, both of which were met with modest amounts of acclaim. Jet and Grinspoon also released albums, however they weren’t quite as well received. Sarah Blasko released “As Day Follows Night” which helped her attain a plethora of ARIA awards this year, firmly cementing her spot as one of the premier figureheads of Australian music. Karnivool brought a heavier side of music to the forefront of the Australian music scene as they released the wonderful “Sound Awake”, while Short Stack released the atrocious “Stack is the New Black” which was met by a few bad reviews from the smarter music fans and tons of money from the not so smart fans. To top it all off rumours have been swirling around older artists and bands over so called “reunion tours”.
So it’s been a busy year then. Well I guess it’s really no surprise that After the Fall’s triumphant return album, “[In] Exile”, their first in four years and seven days has kind of flown under the radar. “[In] Exile” is After the Fall’s third album, following their 2005 album “Always Forever Now”, which spawned two relatively popular singles, “The Fighter” and “Concrete Boots”. So far this brush with fame has been After the Fall’s time in the sun, the peak of their careers and it’s apparent that “[In] Exile” is their attempt to show everyone they aren’t just some one trick pony.
Okay, “[In] Exile” is a good effort from a pretty good band. It’s just...boring at times; much of it doesn’t stand out. A few songs are very memorable and catchy but the majority of songs have the tendency to meld together, that is you could be listening to one song and not notice that it finished five minutes ago and you’re already another two or so tracks further through the album.
That said “After the Fall” is a very crafty band and they sure know how to create a catchy song. Benjamin Windsor, the vocalist is very good, his voice can be eerie and restrained during the verses but he really soars in the choruses creating a very catchy and melodic sound. He really is the highlight of the band, as the instrumentals are simple yet relatively solid. It’s also commendable that the band really sound like a band, instrumentals often pick up as one as Windsor soars, rather than just a single instrument being given the spotlight. Also the bass is quite audible throughout, sometimes more so than the guitar. Lyrically “After the Fall” are average, clearly the words being sung comes in at second place to how they are sung, but this isn’t really a bad thing.
[In] Exile, perhaps unfairly or not can be summed up by a simple song formula. Typically songs on this album start with a slow softly sung first verse followed by an instrumentally and vocally up-tempo chorus, until these steps are repeated again which is normally followed by a strong bridge and final chorus, which effectively ends the song. Perfect examples of this formula would be “The Big Exit” and “Desire” though any variation in song structure is often small and cosmetic.
While it’s obvious that After the Fall will never change the face of music in Australia or abroad, they aren’t by any means a bad band; they just suffer from being extremely forgettable. It’s a shame that this is the case and it kind of makes me sad but I’m sure soon I’ll forget about it and it’ll be all okay....