Album Review :
After the Anthems - What If the Astronauts Are Lying

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Artist: After the Anthems

Album: What If the Astronauts Are Lying

Label: None

Release Date: February 19, 2011

Reviewer: Eric Pettersson

Tracklisting

  1. Nobody Cares
  2. Just to Say
  3. No Way to Make You Mine
  4. One Way Ticket
  5. Worlds Apart
  6. Winding Road
  7. 1623
  8. Side of the Moon That’s Dark
  9. Complaining
  10. Home of the Brave
  11. One Time I Replayed the Empire State of Mind

I haven’t heard pop-punk this pure in almost ten years. I’m talking early Relient K, Side Walk Slam, MxPx, Ghoti Hook. Of course we can’t pretend the last decade didn’t happen, so there’s a good amount of Cartel and Something Corporate in there, but the overwhelming sense of After the Anthems is that I’m back in 2002, listening to Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek again for the first time. In fact, the music and vocal melodies of “No Way to Make You Mine” could have easily come straight from that Relient K record, while “Words Apart” might as well be on MxPx’s The Ever Passing Moment aside from obvious differences between Mike Herrera’s voice and that of After the Anthem’s Philip Ciufo, who is higher, smoother, and frequently filled out by great sounding layered vocal tracks. “Winding Road” is another standout, asking the question, “If Jesus died for us to be alive, why are we running from this life?” In general the songs deal with romantic love, lost relationships, finding purpose and passion in life, and other issues that confront people transitioning from their teenage years to their early twenties. While After the Anthems are from Ontario, Canada, they regularly reference American politics and culture, often critically (“Nobody Cares,” “Home of the Brave”). In my opinion, “One Time I Replayed The Empire State Of Mind” is the best song on the album, with melodies so big they’d make Stephen Christian jealous. The music packs a punch, exploding with bouncy energy and fun melodies on every track.

Overall: If you miss early Relient K or the clean pop-punk sound of the late 90s/ early 2000s in general, give these Canadians a listen. What If the Astronauts Are Lying is available for free download at After the Anthems’ website. The lyrics to the entire album can be read in full at the band’s website as well.

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