For Fans Of
Drew York and Dan Bourke, the respective vocalist and drummer from hardcore groove lords Stray From The Path, have formed a new side-project called Afterparty. No, it’s neither an acoustic group nor is it an EDM/remix project for those after party club shows (that pun was really not intended, I swear) for Stray’s actual tours. This band is actually an early 2000’s alternative rock/pop-punk sounding group that takes some HUGE pages from the books of Taking Back Sunday, The Audition, and Brand New.
Yeah, we shit you not.
The band, rounded out by Joe Reischel and Joe Mattiaon on guitar, and Frank Laudicina on da bass, had this debut EP kept well under wraps until it dropped in full, along with the first single and opening track, ‘Leave’ (a solid first track, if we’re honest), last week seemingly out of nowhere. ‘I Hope You Don’t Make It Home‘ is currently going for $1 (about $1.30 for us) on their Bandcamp page, and for seven pretty damn solid songs, you would be utterly bonkers to miss out on this release.
Sure, it’s basically a one-note release, not musically as that would completely suck, but in terms of how the songs flow, the genre itself, and the themes. But, there are some well-written songs here, as well as some nice production behind it. Surprisingly, these are some insanely catchy emo/pop-punk tunes, namely ‘Undertow’ and the angsty ‘Rivals‘ (though we’ll talk more about that one later on) being the most melodically infectious. The dynamic and minimal ‘Ok, Alright‘ was also a surprise hit, with just the distant drums guitars and reverb-heavy vocals giving this one spine-chilling timbre.
Hearing York sing as opposed to his angry screaming is a little weird at first, because you’re mainly just waiting for the ‘bleugh’ to hit, but after a little while it becomes just as natural as breathing. There are a few moments where he brings out his Stray style (like at the end of ‘Rivals’ and halfway through ‘One.Five.Three‘) but, for the most part, this is a whole other side to the front man that we’ve never seen before, which is impressive seeing as this is coming out of the mouth of the vocalist who is mainly known for this and this. As for Bourke, there are some moments where his drumming prowess really peaks through, but overall, these songs show a more simple and calmer side to his playing, which is also fine – don’t have to smash those drums to an utter pulp for it to be good!
Now the one “problem” we have with this release is the lyrics. This is mainly a tale of edgy, bittersweet relationship fuck ups, the kind that has fueled the inspiration for hundreds of songs by countless bands for decades. It’s not all that original, but don’t get us wrong – they are fine and they get the job done. Though the line from ‘Rivals’ – “And now I’m pulling out the knife that’s in my back/The next time I’m in town I’ll make sure that you shut your mouth” is just truly fucking awful. Like, it’s a good song overall, but that’s some BMTH ‘That’s The Spirit‘ level of bad lyrics right there (shots fired, shots fired!).
The prior experience and knowledge of Drew York and Dan Bourke, from their time with Stray From The Path, elevates this band from small-fry to legitimate with just one sudden release. Afterparty are so fresh you can smell them from miles away, but despite being new, there’s some immense talent here beyond the arbitrary time of their current existence.
Like Tom Williams’ second band, Trade Wind, we may never really see any tours from this band over here, but at least we have one sick EP to go through over and over until they do. Or until the next time Stray hit our shores with those sweet, pumping jams.
3. This One’s On You
4. Ok, Alright
5. Burn In Love