Alterity’s album Afterlife introduces a particularly exciting and musically rather brilliant sound. Fusing electronic beats with delicate melodies and occasional hints of hard-rock, the digitally collaborative outfit offer the absolute best of everyone’s abilities in what proves to be a truly immersive and quite outstanding collection.
Welcome to the Dark Side (Come Out and Play) [Feat. Maverick] as an opener really brings to life the creative dark-wave approach in a compelling way. The instrumentation is superb, everything feels united within the soundscape – there’s weight to it, to the drum-line and to certain flickers of detail in the ambiance; a calming weight that envelops you as dance music might. At the same time, there’s this story-line – the leading voice and the additional effects supporting that give you plenty to consider. This is easily worth hearing twice before moving forward through the album.
Let the Flood Rush In sees the vocal melody distance itself from the listener a little – the voices feel reminiscent of 90’s dance, perhaps earlier. You can visualize this raining down at the club, feeling like a moment for everyone. The more you hear, the more the lyrics intrigue and subsequently captivate. These are deeply thoughtful ideas that are partly poetic and partly revealing. This song is easy to love, and again – easy to listen to more than just once.
Fright Night Part III (Secrets) has a slightly more alt-pop feel – a retro dance beat and a similarly rhythmic melody lead the way. Then you get Most Love Songs Are An Attempt At Commercial Exploitation (Lately) [Feat. DeLive] – a lengthy title draws your interest from afar and the track continues to feed that curiosity as the vocal appears. Musically there’s a calmness to this at first, a sense of rising anticipation follows but subsequently falls away – contrast is mastered, and with a beautifully thoughtful concept and a rather vulnerable, Bowie-style leading voice, the whole thing feels blissfully dreamlike and hypnotic to have fill the room. A beautiful song and a personal favourite for its gentleness and that slight rise as the hook emerges.
The Skveezy Show (Interlude) takes the form of instrumental, vintage EDM – there were hints of Depeche Mode before now and the sound of this initially reinforced that. Even without lyrics, the music has a certain groove and personality that’s easy to recognise.
Marian (Our Place) [Feat. Maverick] is a melodically bright, mighty song with a brilliantly powerful, choir-like hook and another simple yet memorable riff – all of which lingers in your mind after listening. This is another highlight – great songwriting and what feels like a totally fresh, unique yet perfect for the moment set-up.
One song that seems to hit hard where it is within the playlist is Alone In the Woods (Feat. Maverick). There’s a big feel to the melody, short lines see the hook striking high and the whole thing feels suddenly very loud. After this, The Looks That Kill (Feat. Maverick) appears and is quickly one of the most interesting tracks of all. The story-line, the long-form melody, the multiple voices, the musical intensity and simultaneous melodic flow – everything is on point. The song fascinates and satisfies as if it were a long-lost classic. A brilliant piece, totally original and infectious as the words pour through and the beat picks you up.
Another brilliantly energizing dance backdrop storms the stage for Black Roses, Red Dresses, and a Bad Idea That Demands You to Dance. The music does what the title promises, and as you dance – the song itself showcases a theatrical back and forth that creates an impressive dynamic and again works hard to keep you interested and involved throughout. A simple yet effective and mildly haunting riff repeats in the outskirts as the beat pounds on. The more I hear this, the greater the kick – the pace is insane and the whole thing has been both creatively and professionally crafted; as is the case for this entire album in fact. Maybe there’s a slight alt-pop feel to this particular song, the hook is something of an anthemic ear worm, yet the music is notably more EDM-inspired – the two go well together.
A final touch of eclecticism appears for the album’s closing track Without You (Feat. Ghostnote Lab). A minimalist piano-led ambiance supports a powerful leading voice and a heart-breakingly poignant string of lyrics. The simple set-up means that the heavy feel comes purely from the writing, the performance, and the passion with which these are delivered. The personal touch and the vulnerability work well to end the project with something a little different. The latter half sees the rock edge return to uplift and embrace the listener one last time.
There’s a lot about this album that’s great but there are also a fair few moments that genuinely stun. The work and indeed the heart that has gone into it is clear throughout. Great music and respectably original in nature – giving off a real sense of identity; a difficult thing to achieve these days.