Bittersweet is the fourth album from Central Coast Rock Quartet, After the Fall. It’s been three years since we’ve heard any new music from the group, making Bittersweet not only highly anticipated by fans, but necessary. The group made their mark on Australian Music throughout the mid-00s. Their second album Always Forever Now reached number 23 on the Aria Charts in 2005, with single Concrete Boots receiving plenty of airtime. Touring the country and playing at major festivals such as Splendour in the Grass and Homebake, ATF also supported The Darkness tour in 2006.
The guys have spent the time since 2009’s [In] Exile, solidly writing and recording. The band have spent the time reflecting and compiling an album full of hard-hitting tracks that pack a punch. After recording most of the album in houses that guitarist Mark Warner was house-sitting, ‘After the Fall’ took a DIY approach to their fourth, and possibly best album to date.
The opening tracks, Same Old Thing and Nothing But Black are fast-paced, guitar-heavy tracks, making a rocking intro for what’s to follow on the rest of the album. We are given an insight into lead singer Benjamin Windsor’s vocal range, and he doesn’t hold back from showing us what he’s made of. The Fire Is Gone, All I Am and Lies are loud and fast, packed with serious electric guitar, strong drums and catchy lyrics.
Album Title Track, Bittersweet is a highlight. The boys are angry and you can feel it.
Raise your Voice starts off a bit slower, with more of a rock ballad feel and impressive chorus, but the message is strong and clear: Be Yourself. Similarly, Lost It Again’s tempo is much slower at the beginning; however, the boy’s don’t disappoint and launch into a fiery chorus that takes us through to the end of the song. Dirty Sheets follows a similar method and we are treated to a wicked guitar solo at the end of the first chorus. This track screams personal heartache, ‘I tried to give you more but I can’t ignore that I’m still not enough.’
RAH! is a completely different track altogether. It sounds a bit like they’re having a stab at people who tried to either control or change them, ‘…Because we wanted to be who we wanted to be.’
The album concludes with Never There, another hard-hitting, honest track. If you’re not awake yet, you will be after this song.
Bittersweet is surprisingly refreshing. It’s a no-frills, tell-it-like-it-is album, and basically, if you don’t like it, they don’t care. After the Fall have made this album for themselves. There’s plenty to relate to and, all in all, it’s just a good rock album. One of the outstanding things about this album is that the instruments and vocals all go perfectly together. It’s finely produced and these guys are essentially great at what they do.
After the Fall will embark on a national tour after the release of Bittersweet, and if they are as angry as they sound on this album, look out if you’re in the crowd.