STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 17607-11247 LABEL: Angel Air Waves SJPCD190 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2006-04-03 RRP: £12.99
Reviewed by Chris Tozer
Way back in the late seventies Christians who were longing to see the presence of the Lord in the popular music charts pinned all their hopes on a British band called After The Fire. Not since the Joystrings in the mid-sixties and Parchment a decade later had there been a group more likely to have the requisite mix of faith, fun and fashionable music. ATF, as they were later known, had all the right ingredients to make them worthy of the challenge. Both the lead singer Andy Piercy and wizard of the keyboards Pete Memory Banks were already veterans of the CCM scene that Larry Norman begun a decade earlier. Together they wrote a pile of fast catchy songs that perfectly captured the cooler side of punk as typified by bands like Blondie and the Police. With phrases like 'time to think' and 'check it out' their lyrics delighted a sizable Christian fan base without the need to resort to any un-cool religious clichés that would have alienated them from the average punter. To everyone's delight they were signed up by Sony Columbia - at that time the world top record label. Yet, despite the release of three brilliant albums, including the fabulous 'Laser Love', their chart success was limited to their first single 'One Rule For You' and 'Der Komissar', a top five hit after their demise in 1983. Happily, the band reformed in 2004 and at Greenbelt they recorded a superb set of their best-loved songs - and instrumentals such as '1980F' and 'Joy'. All that was missing was front man Andy Piercy - these days busy producing Delirious and leading worship at Holy Trinity Brompton. But, only the old guard would have noticed his absence. This record is ample proof that After The Fire are back with a bang!
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On 25 August 1979, After The Fire played a legendary show at the Greenbelt Arts Festival. Twenty-five years later, they returned to play Greenbelt's Stage 2, marking a return to live performances. Originally recorded as a private record of the event, it was decided to release the show on CD as a "warts and all" official release! This CD also contains two bonus tracks recorded at their acoustic performance in the Christian Aid tent at the 2005 festival.