Fireworks

After Hours - 'Against The Grain' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/13/77/0d/1229_afterhoursagainstthegrain_1304969852.jpg Hot

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You want classy eighties style melodic rock full of heart and soul? Look no further.

Formed back in 1987 when commercial melodic rock was at its peak, U.K. based After Hours were swiftly signed to the BMG/Ariola label, and debut album 'Take Off' appeared a year later, giving the band a healthy following throughout Europe, which culminated in a sponsorship deal with Adidas to promote a new range of sports clothing, also called Take Off. Unfortunately, while recording the second album 'After Hours', three members decided to leave following record company pressure to relocate to Germany, leaving vocalist John Francis and guitarist Tim Payne to finish the album on their own, but they would soon decide to call it a day, although the album did finally get a release in 1992. Roll on to 2008, and a chance meeting of Francis and Payne and original bassist Martin Walls led to a reformation of the band, initially to record one song "just for old times sake". During the recording sessions a new passion emerged, and they decided to write and record a new album without the pressures of record company and management interference. Enlisting old friends Chris Pope on drums and Sean McMenemy on keyboards, 'Against The Grain' is the result.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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With a slightly rough around the edges AOR sound, it's easy to see why After Hours garnered so much attention the first time around, John Francis's voice coming on like a slightly gruff Steve Overland and some classy guitar work from Tim Payne, though he does occasionally let rip with a fiery solo. 'Stand Up' kicks things off, it's an uptempo number with a big chorus, and it's followed by 'Turn On Your Radio' which is a glorious slice of AOR and tips a hat to classic Journey. 'Eleventh Hour' is a low-slung acoustic based piece which begins with a tribal rhythm and is topped off with some tasteful soloing from Tim Payne, the title track 'Against The Grain' has elements of Thunder with it's blend of bluesy acoustic and crunching riffs, and 'Angel' is another commercial rocker awash with keyboards. 'When You're Around' is a classy mid-tempo ballad that again hints at Thunder, then 'Hold On' picks up the pace again, a powerful beat driving the song along with more fine guitar soloing, and 'Let It Go' returns to the Journey style, but this time it's a keyboard driven mid-tempo track with a big harmony-filled chorus. The glorious 'I Want Yesterday' introduces a Southern Rock feel, then 'I Need Your Love' is the lighter-in-the-air ballad that begins gently then keeps building into a monster of a song and enables John Francis to do a more than passable Steve Perry impersonation – my only grumble is that it fades out when a big finish would have been so much better.

You want classy eighties style melodic rock full of heart and soul? Look no further.

Ant Heeks

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