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On disc: After Hours

Against The Grain - Claudia Ehrhardt - 7 stars

Against The Grain

Against The Grain
(AOR Heaven - 2011)

Fans of British AOR will know After Hours from their albums Take Off and After Hours, during the recordings of their second album 3 band members left but singer John Francis and guitarist Tim Payne completed the task. And called it a day. In 2008 the two met Martin Walls by chance and reformed After Hours. The line-up was completed by Chris Pope (drums) and Sean McMenemy (keyboards / guitars).

Now they are back with Against The Grain. The opener Stand Up shows the way, a heavy but melodic rocker with typical 80's backings. With Turn On Your Radio they present one of the highlights of the album. The track is true 80's rock ennobled with Tim Payne's guitar play and John Francis emotional vocals. Back then it would have been on radio and heavy rotation at MTV - if this would have been chosen for a clip. It's followed by Eleventh Hour which carries the vibe of some 80's pop rock stuff incl. the 'singing guitar' and is spiced up with some tribal-like drumming at the end of the tune. The title track Against The Grain sounds quite familiar with it's acoustic guitars... You just want to join in, singing along. After Angel which sounds a bit Bad English-like they present the balladesque When You're Around. It's not one which gives you goose bumps, but still a decent one. And again it's Payne's guitar which ennobles the song. I Want Yesterday shows similarities to Bad English... I Need Your Love is a ballad, but somehow lacks depth - at least for me -, there are stronger songs by After Hours at this album. The closer is an acoustic version of Eleventh Hour. Which one's the better? Well, depends on your preferences.

Everybody who liked the first 2 After Hours albums won't be disappointed. Rock fans who have Bad English and Gary Hughes on their fav's list, should check out After Hours.

7 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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