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Sounds like … what you might get if the newsboys fused their catchy Euro-pop style with the Brit rock of Coldplay, Keane, and Leeland, plus the '80s influenced modern rock of The Killers and InterpolAt a glance … Hello is a perfect introduction for After Edmund, a talented new band that successfully balances their creative influences with catchy melodies, while expressing their faith through accessible lyricismTrack Listing Thank God Fighting for Your Heart (Let It Go) Everyone Like a Dream Darkest Room Come and Rain Down Tears Stealing Away Go Oboe! Clouds It's Alright To See You Leave
Journalists and critics in Christian music have been aching to share After Edmund with readers for close to a year. The band was buzzed about during Gospel Music Week in 2007, with pre-release copies of their debut Hello floating about in anticipation of its summer release. Then at the eleventh hour, the album got pushed back to 2008. Not that anything needed fixing—the Hello I've been listening to for nine months is the same album releasing now. It simply gave Slanted Records more time to market After Edmund just right in response to the buzz.
Hopefully, you'll agree it was worth waiting for this band (whose name refers to the boy in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, changing his tune after Aslan redeems him). Like Leeland's debut in 2006, it's hard to believe that this album is After Edmund's first—it sounds inventive and polished enough to be a second or third effort. All five members are classically trained, contributing to the songwriting and sonic development in equal measure, from the colorful keys and guitar solos to the densely layered drums and bass. It's also remarkable work by talented producer Scotty Wilbanks (Third Day, DecembeRadio) as it sounds nothing like his previous projects—there's clearly much more to him than AC pop.
Plenty of today's bands are influenced by Coldplay and The Killers, but most can't help sounding derivative. After Edmund keeps their influences in check and brings them together into collaborative play—like what you might get if the newsboys fused their catchy Euro-pop style with the Brit rock of Coldplay and Keane, as well as the '80s-flavored modern rock of The Killers and Interpol. Hello has its share of explosive rockers, particularly the search for renewal expressed in "Tears" and the confusion of being caught between worlds in "Clouds." But there are also sweet spots, like the gorgeous confessional "Stealing Away" and the atmospheric ode to grace "Like a Dream."
Most of all, After Edmund excels at balancing creativity with accessibility, expressing faith clearly without sounding trite or overbearing. They could stand to be more poetic with their lyricism—parts of some songs here belie their rookie status. But in general, this is a Christian rock album that will impress even your unsaved friends. The album builds bridges, both creatively and personally, which makes Hello the perfect introduction for After Edmund.