AFI, for most of you I will not need to provide an introduction, if you’re familiar at all with the early 2000’s rock, punk or emo scene (or perhaps even the mid-late 90’s punk scene) then chances are you’ve heard a few songs and at least heard of the band. The Californian band have been massively successful both commercially and in their popularity thanks to not only the key hit songs but a decent portion of their discography, but also the key hit songs, I’m looking at you Miss Murder.
With their current lineup consisting of vocalist Davey Havok, drummer Adam Carson and multi-instrumentalists, bassist and guitarist Hunter Burgan and Jade Puget respectively, the band are back after their 2017 release of their tenth studio album to release their new EP ‘The Missing Man’. The EP features five brand new never before heard songs including previously released single Get Dark, I’m very excited to hear what’s in store, so ladies and gentlemen… Shut Your Mouth and Open Your… Ears.
We kick it off with the song Trash Bat, which opens with a rapid drum beat, some guitar and some quick paced vocals, we seem to be hearing a kind of fusion of their punk rock roots and a more modern rock/pop-punk twist. The guitars have a smooth buzzy sound to them and the chorus hits hard and abruptly, but not in a negative way, it was executed nicely. Next up is Break Angels and it soars into itself dreamily with a gentle drum beat and an atmospheric sound, the vocals softly carry on as they start to rise throughout the verse and into the chorus, which turns out to kind of do a 180, like a car accelerating quickly then backing up and it just plays out in a kind of chaotically, funky way. I’m deciding to describe this song as a ‘distorted bop’.
Third songs’ the charm, we’re up to Back Into The Sun and this song has a relaxed yet powerful sort of ballad, each not kind of rolls off of one another into the next in a bouncy kind of way. Between the minor sounding guitars, heavy drums and sullen sounding vocals this really seems like the kind of song you can attribute to feeling either melancholy or bittersweet, this is especially captivated during the bridge towards the end of the song, where the music breaks and there’s soft vocals and gentle acoustic guitar.
Next up is the fourth, not final, but first as we come to what was our first taste of this splendid EP, the first single Get Dark. Get Dark is full of memorable elements, it begins with a spectacular drum intro, eerie guitars, booming and groovy bass and the songs’ hook is absolutely guaranteed to get stuck in your head with its pop-rock infectiousness, which it did, it still is and will be for the next week. My best bet is that if this doesn’t get you jamming out, you may not like the rest of the EP as Get Dark is a brilliant indication of The Missing Man as a whole.
Speaking of The Missing Man, that’s the titular last song on the EP and it packs us up and sends us off with a cruisy acoustic guitar riff full of whammies and slides to create an eerie, atmospheric sensation. The drums are gentle during the verse and the vocals are subdued and soft, the chorus breaks down the floodgates and letting synth elements and violin into the mix as well as upping the intensity of all the previous instruments. The bands’ alternative rock side peeks out a little here, but really capitalises on an almost R’n’B kind of acoustic sound, but not to fear the song swells and grows until the distortion guitars come into the fray, deliver a guitar solo and the song phases out alongside the violin. This is why I can 100% say that ‘The Missing Man’ is a beautiful and powerful way to end the EP, I’ve always thought there were two ways to end an album, let it down gently or go out with a bang, AFI did both and it’s spectacular.
AFI have absolutely not let me down in this EP, with the only critique being that it’s not bloody long enough, with such a unique new sound for the band I and what I can only imagine is millions of other fans can only hope that this sound persists into a full studio album, get to it AFI, we’re waiting.
The EP will be available on the 7th of December, 2018. You can find a link to pre-order it here!: https://www.afireinside.net/
If you feel like either corroborating or disputing my thoughts on the album, check out their videos on Youtube.
Get Dark Lyric Video
Trash Bat Lyrics Video
Summary: Spectacular EP, the legendary band have gotten themselves an interesting new sound and if it’s anything like ‘The Missing Man’, I’ll be waiting in anticipation.