Against the Grain

01. Stand Up
02. Turn On Your Radio
03. Eleventh Hour
04. Against The Grain
05. Angel
06. When You're Around
07. Hold On
08. Let It Go
09. I Want Yesterday
10. I Need Your Love
11. Eleventh Hour (acoustic)

John Francis : Vocals
Tim Payne : Lead Guitar
Martin Walls : Bass
Sean McMenemy : Keyboards, Guitars
Chris Pope : Drums

Take Off (1988)
Afterhours (1992)


Produced by Afterhours and Rob Aubrey
Engineer: Rob Aubrey

Released 29/4-2011
Reviewed 18/4-2011


Afterhours was formed in 1987, they released their debut album 1988 and their career took off, quite literally. In 1992 they released their second album that was self titled and it was also the last for that stint since the record label they had at the time had been sticking their nose into everything way too much which had led to departing members and all of that. So they decided to call it a day and everyone thought that it was over. In 2008 three of the old members had a chance meeting and decided to record some stuff just for old times sake without any influence from labels or such, the fire was there it is said and they recorded a full album, an album that is now to be released on the 29 of April. This album is called Against the Grain and is released through AOR Heaven.

Musically the label should be quite indicative about what to expect and in musical terms the band does not really surprise. It is melodic rock music, distinctive choruses, crystal clear sound, just the elements that you would expect when going for an album of the genre and there really is nothing in musical terms that sets the band apart. The one thing that comes close to differentiating the band from the rest of the music in the genre is the vocalist who is not as high pitched as is custom, he has a more mellow voice maybe, I find it hard to describe how he sings but his voice is slightly different from the likes of Toto, Bad Habit, Big Life or whatever other AOR band you can find. The album consist of eleven track of which the final one is an acoustic version of a song already played before it, so ten real and one alternate version of one of the ten is what it is. There is almost 47 minutes of music on this album and the cover looks like a desert on a cloudy day, not particularly interesting to be honest but not awfully bad either.

Against the Grain seems like a title chosen to indicate that they are just that when it comes to their music but I don’t see that at all when I listen to this album. It is an album with songs that are so very typical for the genre that it seems like they have done what they can to just make music of the genre and forgotten that the music must have a soul which is something technical perfection never can give it. I think the band forgot to add something of themselves in the songs and therefore most of them feels like good songs and then nothing more. I must say though that the calm and slower track Eleventh Hour is quite good and the same goes for I Want Yesterday which also is a really good track, When You’re Around is also a track worth mentioning. But these tracks are not really that fatastic so that the album is worth a better rating, neither are the rest of the songs good enough to push it in that direction. My feeling is that it is a good album when I listen to it but nothing makes it stay in my mind and it is quickly forgotten when it stops playing, it lacks identity and soul.

I cannot really complain about anything this band does with this album but I think that with a rattlesnake in the sand of the cover artwork would add some danger and some more excitement and uncertainty to the music of the album, as it is now it is safe and it is as interesting as what we see on the cover. Against the Grain is not really what I would say about this album, with another against before the in the title would have been more fitting.

In the end I think this is a well made and good album but it is as interesting and noteworthy as looking into a sea of sand dunes.


Label - AOR Heaven/GerMusica
Three similar bands - China/Big Life/Million
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm