AFTER HOURS – AGAINST THE GRAIN

Out now on Metal Heaven

There’s something about the sound of British AOR bands that sets them apart from their transatlantic counterparts. Part of it is a certain style of production; another part is the inevitable inclusion of some prog influences.

Instrumentally, we get decent but unremarkable AOR fare on this comeback album. Songs like “Eleventh Hour” and “ Against The Grain “ illustrate the point I made above about the proggier nature of British AOR. The album is filled with good, if not exceptional songs. The keys are present but not overbearing and there’s plenty of nice guitar playing to liven up the action.

Unfortunately, whatever positive qualities this band possesses, they are overshadowed by the reedy voice of John Francis. Not exactly one of the classic British rock voices… In the lower register, he lacks power. When he goes up the scales he sounds thin and straining (“Angel” being a poignant example). Not to mention he misses the target note with an alarming regularity. I haven’t the vaguest idea what he is trying to prove at the beginning of “I Want Yesterday”…

Production wise, there’s nothing wrong with this album. The mix is balanced and every instrument sounds quite good. Which makes it all the more a shame that the vocals just don’t cut it.

If you don’t mind the singer, you may add at least 10 points to the score.

Rating – 68%
Review by Sancho

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1 Comment

  1. I think you make a fair point on the songs being consistently good but not great but disagree about the vocalist totally he has a great voice !

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