One of the criticisms often levelled at progressive rock in general by people who know diddly-squat about it is that it doesn't "rock". Certainly, there is beautiful music within the very expansive world of progressive rock that perhaps doesn't "rock" but, to my mind, that doesn't mean that you can't encompass it within this wide genre. However, irrespective of whether you agree with me or not, it's a completely academic question when it comes to categorizing After My Own's music because, boy, theirs does "Rock" with a capital R!! No arguing here - progressive Rock it is - and how! Woof woof!
After My Own are a relatively new band from Carver, Massachusets, who are as yet unsigned to a record label (come on you record execs, wake up!). Formed in 2006 as a four-piece fronted by a lead vocalist, they have since become a three-piece following his departure. Psychotropic annotations of the lights unreceived is their first demo EP as a three-piece and features Brendan Hayter (Bass, Vocals), Justin Struble (Guitar, Vocals) and Jon (Drums) - (Jon just likes to be known by his first name!)
Theirs is an exciting sound, full of verve, pace, power and imagination - proving once again that there is much mileage left in the old three-piece rock band formation. You may find this weird but their sound evoked memories of Wishbone Ash circa the Pilgrimage/Argus era - I know, After My own don't have a twin-guitar attack, but what they do have in Brendan is a bassist with a playing technique that, allied with Justin's guitar, gives the band's sound a sonority similar to a twin-guitar attack. The songs are imaginative compositionally with variety in pace and mood maintaining interest during the instrumental sections. Not surprisingly, the production of the demo isn't as polished as you might expect from a mainstream label CD and whether for this reason or by choice, the vocals don't dominate the mix - however, I think this actually suits this style of progressive rock and the music has a very "live" feel to it which works well.
The reference to early Wishbone Ash is a guide only; After My Own incorporate modern developments into their music, such as metal, including a spate of growling, during the middle passages of "Seven Arson Rose". "Paotlu" features a number of special sound effects which worked well, particularly during the opening and middle sections, despite the fact that I had difficulty identifying them definitively (rain, wind, ?), perhaps because of the lo-fi recording. But this is not an EP of "progressive trickery" - no - the "progressive" element is in the compositional imagination and in the execution of the music. The overriding sonic signature remains the stridency of the guitar and bass, aided adeptly by Jon's work in the drum seat: a pacey rock signature.
It may be some time before these guys come over to the UK to do some shows but if I was over States-side I'd be looking to see if they were playing anywhere near me. In the meantime, I recommend you check out their MySpace site and, if you enjoy the music, spending $4 on what has to be one of the best EPs of the year has got to be a good investment.
The guys are planning a full-length album CD next year - I wish them luck and a fair wind in their endeavor: I'm looking forward to it already!
1) Sun in the Water (5:57)
2) Seven Arson Rose (6:24)
3) Paotlu (11:05)