Review Summary: Life may be beautiful but this album sure isn't.
Talk about a ridiculously underwhelming disappointment. You might think that a band like The Afters might learn from their mistakes from their predecessor, like the pop sound that they had, or maybe having more rock-out, catchy songs, but it seems as if they decided to take the same route that they went through last time. There are almost no changes to their music since “Light Up the Sky” and it seems as if they sound even more like a pop boy band rather than an actual pop-rock band. By god, I can’t even begin to describe how boring and bland this album is.
The album starts off with the gross sounding but somewhat catchy “Every Good Thing.” As you can immediately tell, this album is going to make you puke, especially if you are or were a former fan of The Afters. It’s too much pop and electronica rolled into a nearly four minute song that just will make you want to listen to something else. Though I will admit, they do a good job of jamming the song right into your brain to a point where is becomes frustrating to get it out. Similar pieces like “Breathe In Breathe Out” and “Moments Like This” have the same situation where they’re catchy but sound too much like Owl City. Not to mention, there are a lot of slower paced songs that just turns the album into a gigantic snore-fest. Even though there are more fast-pasted songs on this album than the last one, it’s not saying much since literally over half the songs will make you fall asleep, possibly throughout the rest of the album.
I may be beating a dead horse when I say this, but the sound is awful. They overuse the electronics way too much. The song “Love Is in the Air” probably uses the most electronic sounds that the album makes more than any other song. And what replaces those electronic sounds whenever they need something else to fill in the spot? Piano. That’s right everyone, they use the piano or keyboard or whatever the heck they use, and just like the electronic sounds, they overuse the keys way too much. I’m sure older fans keep will saying, “where are the guitars, the drums? Where are the things that made me like The Afters in the first place?” Believe me, I kept asking myself that for a long time while listening to this. Come on, their last album had at least ONE song that had some great guitars and drums in it, but why not this one. Compared to their last album, there are almost no changes to their music. They sound more like “pop” rather than “rock” or “alternative” for that matter.
If there is at least one or two good things about the album I can say is that the vocals are still enjoyable. They haven’t really improved or maybe they downgraded a little, but it’s still tolerable to listen to Josh’s voice in songs like in “This Life” and the title track. Also, the lyrics don’t lose their spiritual touch. Pieces like “Broken Hallelujah” do show the bands spiritual side, considering that The Afters are a Christian group (yeah, I’m not sure I want to call them a band anymore). But that’s pretty much it for the good things, which honestly isn’t really saying anything.
So yeah, The Afters new record, nothing new, or good for that matter. Is it god awful? Well, I probably wouldn’t go THAT far since there are at least two good things that I can think of, but it is pretty bland and boring. Almost everything in this album is bad and a lackluster attempt to make their pop sound stick out a little more. I honestly thought that there was going to be something more than what we got here. If you are an old fan of The Afters, then it is obvious that you’re not going to like this album. I can’t really recommend a single song from this album unless you like Owl City or something with a bit of pop to it (which if you do then I would recommend the whole album). I think its official that we need to label The Afters a Christian pop group rather than an actual band.