Review Summary: With original sound, fantastic vocals and great songs, you can't go wrong with The Afters sophomore album "Never Going Back To OK"0 of 1 thought this review was well written
Ah yes, The Afters. Well, what more can I say. I've never really heard anything as simple as amazing as these guys. After their success of the debut album and debut single "Beautiful Love," their sophomore album was released about two years later and almost immediately garnered huge success. Critics loved it, fans loved it. The fame and acclaim of this album just suddenly came out of nowhere. But what makes this band so unique exactly?
Well for instance, they are a Christian band for starters, which seems somewhat odd because at first glance/listen (whichever you prefer) it seems as if this album doesn't really have any Christian or biblical themes in their songs. But if you think about it and think about it hard, then it really picks up on you. Secondly, their overall sound is very original. The Afters is one of those rare acts on a show that everyone seems to love with their funky pop-rock sound, which doesn't sound original right now, but there's something in their music that makes them so fantastically great and even I can't really wrap my head around it exactly. They just seem so different from other pop-rock bands.
As in terms of the overall songs, the album starts off with a short song called "The Secret Parade," which somewhat sounds like something from The Beatles. Afterwards the album goes into the extremely catchy and rock-out title track "Never Going Back To OK." The next song "Keeping Me Alive" goes into more of a melodic pop sound and shows more of a classic sound to the band. "Tonight" goes back the the rock sound once again, and then the album immediately goes into probably one of the most beautiful and gracious song I've ever listened to, "Ocean Wide." This song is so fantastic that it even managed to become a song in the show "Vampire Diaries" (Season 2, Episode 8 if anyone's curious). Just the overall tone and music in this song makes it probably the best song in the album. Not only is the music great but also the vocals. The vocals just fit into the song so well that the singer was probably born to sing that song. The next song "MySpace Girl" suddenly goes into the opposite direction to where the album was going after "Ocean Wide" and runs the risk of being out of character for the band. While "Ocean Wide" goes to a slower and sadder pace, "MySpace Girl" just immediately picks up into happy and joyful, and all I have to ask about this is what were they thinking when placing the songs on this album. But don't get me wrong, I still think it is a great song. Even though it seems out of character, it turns out that the song was based on a true story of how the bassist met his wife, which to be honest, I kinda find myself liking this song even more. Just the overall silliness of this tracks makes it enjoyable. "We Are The Sound" still keeps up with the rock sound to the album until the next song "Beautiful Words" takes the change of pace once again by taking a more slower and melodic tone. The next song "Falling Into Place" goes back to the rock-themed tone but is more of a medium paced song rather than a faster catchy one. "Forty-Two" picks up the pace by having somewhat of the same tempo as "Never Going Back To OK." Still a catchy and fantastic song. Then the pace slows down for the final two songs "Summer Again" and "One Moment Away." "Summer Again" is a wonderful piano ballad and another one of my favorite songs from this album. "One Moment Away" is the final track and sounds a little bit like "Ocean Wide" in a way.
Any negatives on this album would be somewhat of a lack of creativity and repetitiveness. It just seems that the album constantly keeps bouncing up and down from upbeat and happy, to slower and sad, from happy to sad and it just keeps repeating. Also, like I said before about "MySpace Girl" it runs a huge risk of being out of character. The Afters are a christian band and if this song wasn't a true story, then there probably wouldn't be any point in actually making the song in the first place. Not to mention, it is really misplaced. I would probably put this song maybe after one of the more happier and upbeat songs rather than having is follow a soothing slower melody.
Overall, this really is a fantastic album made by a very fantastic band. "Never Going Back To OK" will not only please Christians and religious people alike, but also maybe people who are non-religious. As for recommendations go, I would have to say that a vast majority of people might like this album. People who are into rock bands, pop rock bands, and so one and so forth. If you are one of those people who like heavy metal more than just average rock, then you probably wouldn't like it. All the same, "Never Going Back To OK" is a real charmer.