After The Fire - Radio Sessions 1979-1981

Published Tuesday 16th June 2009
After The Fire - Radio Sessions 1979-1981
After The Fire - Radio Sessions 1979-1981

RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 81892-15634
LABEL: Independent SJPCD301

Reviewed by Mike Rimmer

At their peak 1979-1982, After The Fire were signed to CBS Records who were trying to break them into the big time. The band ended up having some low level skirmishes with the British charts without ever making the big breakthrough. Mind you, it wasn't for want of trying and ironically the big chart hit happened in America after the band had broken up. This CD features the band's three BBC In Concert performances from '79, '80 and '81 with each highlighting how tight the band were live and how vociferous their fans could be. Ultimately ATF deserved bigger props for their development of synth-led pop rock and these live performances take the listener from the more new wave sound of their 1979 thrash through material from their debut album to more assured performances later. Andy Piercy was always a compelling frontman and that comes across here as does the sheer musicianship of the band. From John Russell's extended guitar solo in "Billy Billy" to the interplay between guitar and Peter Banks' keyboards on "Take Me Higher", it's evident from the 1981 recording that the band were getting stronger and better. So it's a shame that it all came crashing down at the end of the following year. I have vivid memories of being glued to the radio in 1979 for the first of these In Concert performances so it's a surprise to hear how much it sounded exactly as I remembered it. Only criticism is that they may have benefited from some tweaking and mastering. As it is, any fan of the band back in the day will want to hear these performances from their heroes again.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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