|Shortino / Northrup Afterlife||MTM Music|
Jeff Northrup and Paul Shortino team up for the second time together – the first being the acclaimed 1993 hard rock outing Back On Track, which was re-released with bonus tracks late last year.|
Don't expect a carbon copy of that album, as Afterlife is a little different. After all, it is 11 years later and the guys have matured.
Back On Track was a great American hard rock album with traces of blues rock. Afterlife is a far more refined and somewhat mellower affair. It has its share of rockers, but the majority of this album is classy, but simple, pure melodic rock.
I hasten to add that this style suits the guys down to the ground and the album as a whole is definitely more accomplished than their first and also some of the best material from either of the guys. They work beautifully together and one can only hope it won't be another 11 years before we hear a third album.
This is a dark and very personal album with some inspired and haunting lyrics from Northrup, with Shortino's warm and raspy voice proving a perfect cohort.
Track By Track:
Here I Am is a good rocking opening, with the distinct Shortino rasp in control.
Afterlife is a gem of a melodic rock track – moody, dark and very melodic with a great chorus hook.
Like A Stone is a soft piano ballad with a gut wrenching vocal from Paul. Very haunting.
It's time to rock again and Crazy Mind proves to be one of the album's heavier tracks, rocking with a big guitar driven Led Zeppelin swagger. The song also featres Johnny Edwards on a lead vocal duet – his voice adds weight to an already strong song and is very reminiscent of the JK Northrup album from a couple of years back (which featured Edwards).
Feel Again is a mid-tempo melodic rock with a big chorus and great melodic vocal hook.
Crossfire sees a return to the hard edged Led Zep vibe of Crazy Mind.
Slave is moodier and darker and somewhat mellow, while still managing to rock quite nicely.
Gypsy Soul is another moody mid-tempo rock track with another strong chorus.
Mark My Words picks up the pace a little, just as it was needed. This is a sharp and pacey guitar fuelled instrumental that fits the album quite well.
As I Fall is a little different – it has a modern rock vibe and Paul sings this with a different tone that both suits him and suggests the guys are capable of bending the rules quite successfully.
Prisoner is a great acoustic ballad with a big sentimental chorus that should please and impress fans of the duo.
Couple these elements with a highly polished sound and a great production, which makes Afterlife a very enjoyable melodic rock release.
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