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Never Going Back to OK
The Afters
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Reviewed: 2/8/2008 by Ryan

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There’s no sophomore slump for The Afters on their new album “Never Going Back to OK.” The band shows more diversity than they did on the last record and they appear to make an even stronger run at the mainstream with this round. The album’s never stagnant, it’s consistently different throughout, and it’s got a higher production value than the last record. You really can’t say enough about the improvement that this band did from first album to second album. The harder/catchier/rock songs on this record are some high moments. The title-track is a potential hit. And “Tonight”, “MySpace Girl”, “We Are the Sound”, and “Falling Into Place” are all up-tempo songs that aren’t just good, they’re great. With three they would have had more than the last record, but they surpassed that number easily on the new album. There are some solid faster-paced songs on this record, but the slow songs also have a lot of power to them. Most of the time when the band has a song like this it feels like the rest of the world stands still, which is a big mark for any band, but it seems effortless for The Afters. The biggest ballad like that on this album is “One Moment Away”, and while it’s not completely slow (it’s kind of a builder) it’s the perfect way to finish off “Never Going Back to OK.” The Afters had a lot of success with their debut album; they even made a lot of strides into the mainstream market with their last album, but with this album look for them to become a full-fledged hit-making machine. They’ve got the type of versatility like band like Switchfoot that enables them to be successful in that sense. Look out world, here come The Afters.

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The Hold Steady (Mar 25)
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