If the eponymous debut album from The Pull of Autumn marked them out to be a band largely outside of genre or style, time or tradition, Afterglow shows us that there was still so much sonic territory still to be explored. Interestingly enough whereas many bands deliver fascinating debut albums and then begin to hunker down on a signature sound, our Autumnal friends have instead gone the other way, broadening their musical vision, extending the brief (or perhaps doing without one altogether) and generally adding more depth and variance to the music, both within the individual songs and across the album as a whole.
Kicking off with the haunted washes of Injure The Swallow and following it with the beat driven groover that is Trouble Time just shows you how confident they are in their diversity, and the width of the canvass that they are using to paint their musical pictures. And these first two songs also say a lot about the nature of the album as a whole which seems to be built through a finely controlled act of balance and contrast…confident beats as a platform for hazy washes, formless meanderings that coalesce into beguiling riffs, pop sensibilities played with a punk swagger, forward-thinking visions tipping their hats to the past, sharply realised melodies resting on textured layers of sonic weaving.
I hate the term “supergroup” it is laced with a sense of ego and conjures visions of prog excess and musical logistics which wouldn’t seem out of place if Douglas Adams had written about the notion. Perhaps this is better described as a social group with various shared histories who just like making music together. If the term supergroup seems connected with cash and balance sheets, this social group of musicians, as the name implies, is all about the creativity that happens when they hang out in the studio together. Nothing else seems to matter, no hidden agenda is at work. Art for art’s sake.
Crack The Red has a chirpy, chiming Brit-pop feel to it, Sitting By The Window echoes with the pop perkiness and small town vibe of The Kinks made over for the modern age and Stained Glass Window is a gloriously off-kilter and slightly disembodied take on 60’s psychedelia.
I guess when you combine the talents of a group of people who were always associated with the alternative – Fred Abong, ( Belly/Throwing Muses😉 Stewart Anderson (Boyracer); Richard Vincent Adams (Hood, The Declining Winter); Bruce MacLeod (Johanna’s House of Glamour, Underwater Kites), singer Mina Hunt and pianist Maria Kuznetsova, plus of course the man at the eye of this wonderful sonic maelstrom Daniel Darrow, the result is always going to be outside of the musical box. Afterglow is not just outside of the box, it makes you wonder why we ever bothered with boxes in the first place.