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After The Fire - Laser Love CD (album) cover


After The Fire


Symphonic Prog

2.08 | 6 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars After the prog

After the Fire (known in North America simply as ATF) appear on this site because they released one prog album, this is not it. The band's first album "Signs of change" was for many years a collectible prog rarity, although it has in recent years become more readily available on CD. After the limited release of their debut, ATF signed with CBS records (in 1978), and completely revamped their style and sound. What emerged was a band who had moved with the times, and reinvented themselves as an electronic new wave outfit with a focus on short pop orientated songs. During this phase, keyboards player Peter Banks changed his name to Memory Banks, purportedly to avoid confusion with the ex-Yes man. Prior to work commencing on the album bassist Nick Battle left the band, with guitarist Andy Piercy switching to bass and new guitarist John Russell stepping in.

"Laser love", which emerged in 1979, proved to be something of a hotchpotch album, involving 5 different producers including Muff Winwood, Rupert Prine and the band themselves. Understandably this impacts on the continuity of the album, but perhaps in the new age era such things were less important. The LP has the standard pop structure of two sides containing 5 songs of radio friendly length and structure. The best known of these is probably the chart single "One rule for you" but in reality it is interchangeable with most of the tracks on the album.

Put simply, there is nothing prog about this album. at all. Tracks such as "Laser love" and "One rule for you" offer decent quality pop with a punk tinge, but that is all they offer. There are similarities with the Boomtown Rats in particular, the punk connections being similarly superficial in nature. Most of the tracks feature dominant synth backing tracks, which now sound very much of their time, but back in 1979 would have still been rather novel. In that sense, the band were one of the leaders towards the sounds of the 80's.

There are two slight exceptions to the new wave/punk pop, and that is the instrumentals "Joy" and "Timestar". While still firmly rooted in pop, these virtuoso synth performances are superb workouts, and its lots of fun too. The latter seems to be loosely based on "Telstar", a classic single from the early 1960's.

Many bands have made transitions form one genre to another. Such changes can often be a firm indication of ambition, and a willingness to test the waters in others areas. In most cases though, vestiges of the bands previous work can be heard somewhere along the way. It is rare for a band to make such a substantial and dramatic change from one album to the next as we witness here. The only link between ATF's first album and this one is that the line up is substantially the same. In its own right, this is not a bad new wave/punk pop album. That though is all that it is.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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