Thursday, November 04, 2021

Afterbliss offers a blissful experience with their debut EP ‘Unknown Machine’

Afterbliss are a pop-rock outfit hailing from Dublin, Ireland. 

The founding members, guitarist/synth player Alex Burcea and Drummer Ally Pender, met back in 2018 while involved in another band. Soon deciding to abandon that venture and begin their own project altogether, Afterbliss was born; with later additions of lead vocalist Evan Cassidy, guitarist James O’Gorman and bassist Shane Waldron cementing their style and facilitating a fuller, more cinematic sound. 

Now, a year or so later, their self-released debut EP ‘Unknown Machine’ is available to listen to on all platforms.

The countless streams and a sold-out headline show at infamous Dublin music venue, Whelan’s, speaks volumes of ‘Unknown Machine's’ addictive melodic rock. Cassidy’s cathartic lyricism is backdropped by vibrant guitar riffs and animated synths, teeming with unbridled energy. The debut was recorded back in September 2020, in the highly acclaimed Windmill Lane Recording Studios, where the work of PJ HarveyDavid Bowie and Elvis Costello have been immortalised. With producers and sound engineers whose CVs are just as star-studded as their recording locale, Afterbliss create tracks reminiscent of The KillersMuseEditors and Manic Street Preachers.

The 5 track EP begins with the fast-paced, dynamic ‘Remnants’, a single released earlier this year. ‘Remnants’ was the first song written with the full 5-member band; a testament to the strength in numbers. In June, the single was even featured as track of the day on Hotpress, an Irish pop culture magazine.

The entire EP is sonically and thematically, cohesive, centring around the lingering, internal turmoil that accompanies leaving a toxic relationship. The album’s pace slows and meanders on ‘Castaway’, where Cassidy laments about ties being cut despite finally being free of them: “I reach the surface yeah/ now that I can breathe/ I see us from above/… oh our lines just melt away/ we're lying here castaway".

At the album's midway-point, ‘Until Sunrise’ is sonically and lyrically more optimistic, and the EP's climactic pop anthem. Cassidy enters the bargaining stage of grief, maintaining hope that his past relationship can be rekindled, “Maybe I'm crazy/ Although this night's been hazy /We'll survive/Until sunrise /We've still got time.”

Such hope is lost in the EPs closing tracks, where the relationship once again unravels, but this time there is no inclination to fill the ‘Empty Space’ that emerges between them. ‘Unknown Machine’ concludes with ‘Kiss & Tell’, a furious cacophony of guitars. Unlike on ‘Until Sunrise’ Cassidy’s resolve is definite; he won’t be fooled twice. Instead, choosing to “Bury/ My hatchet close to me,” and “Curse the ground/ where you come to kneel.”

Elina Ganatra


Image: ‘Unknown Machine’ Official EP Artwork 

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