Straight out of Mesquite, TX, The Afters are a new pop/rock group on INO Records and its brand new division, Simple Records. Earning ample underground success under the name Blisse, The Afters blend many popular musical influences with honest and worshipful songwriting on their national debut, I Wish We All Could Win, for what makes a real winning combination.
Fans of Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, and U2 might notice a little influence here and there in their sound, but it's rather difficult to nail down one specific comparison. In a time where modern worship suffers from a lot of the same, The Afters stand out from the crowd. I Wish We All Could Win opens with the driving alt pop/rock sound of "Beautiful Love," which sets the tone for the rest of the record. "Someday" is an example of the catchiest aspects of the band's sound and versatility, along with the melodic anthem "Love Lead Me On." "All That I Am" proves the guys can just as effectively write a worship ballad as a rock song. Although the lyrics are rather straightforward and simple ("I will love You with all of my heart / Jesus, I'll love You with all of my mind / Jesus, I'll love You with all of my soul / Jesus, I'll love You with all that I am"), the layered and string-enhanced arrangement raises the song well above the norm and is one of the strongest songs on the record.
The Afters' approach to worship is a classy and thoughtful one with more album highlights like "Love Will Make You Beautiful," "You," and "Wait." Fans of CCM artists like Stereo Motion, Steve, Paul Colman, and Smalltown Poets will want to look into this release. The Afters are the best new artist to come out of INO Records yet.- Review date: 2/20/05, written by John DiBiase
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