Review: The After Party – Kansas

The After Party’s new album bears the name of the state they hale from: Kansas. The band’s been around for a couple of years, and have released two EP’s prior to Kansas, which is comprised of six songs and has a runtime of just less than twenty minutes. They encapsulate a sound similar to contemporaries such as Nevershoutnever and All Time Low, which isn’t surprising since the The After Party have shared producers with both these bands. The problem with the pop-rock genre is that hundreds of hair-flipping teenage bands are looking to capitalize on the trend, making it extremely hard for a band to stand above the crowd.

From the first song, “Waste the Day”, The After Party’s intentions are clear: they are here to write catchy songs that appeal to the fun-loving teenage crowd. This means simple song structures, bouncy choruses and happy, carefree lyrics. It’s the kind of song you’ve heard a hundred times on Much Music, sliced between a generic hip-hop song and Katy Perry. The album’s third song, “She’s Gotta Boyfriend”, strives to be a party song by incorporating aspects of techno and some atrocious record scratches into the track. It also uses a bridge that sounds mysteriously similar to the chorus of “Teenage Dream”. Thankfully the album partially redeems itself with the next two songs, “I Still Got Love” and  “Here Comes The Rain”, which benefit from a more classical sound, incorporating violins and a piano into the mix instead of the dull power chord riffs that pollute most of The After Party’s songs. These tracks also succeed because The After Party tone down their repulsively cheery demeanour in favour of genuine emotion.

The After Party should play to their strengths in the future, and continue developing a more personal and quiet sound, because it’s where they sound most comfortable. In the oversaturated market of pop-rock, a release as run of the mill as Kansas is not good enough to get you noticed.

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