The best way to describe And So I Watch You From Afar’s latest full length album All Hail Bright Futures is as 12 tracks of 100% pure positivity. This album just exudes good vibes, which is a change in the band’s sound. Where ASIWYFA’s previous album Gangs seemed like a battle cry on the way into some epic and gory battle, All Hail Bright Futures is the celebration after a long hard-fought victory.
All Hail Bright Futures is the first album that the group has recorded as a trio since the departure of guitarist Tony Wright and the remaining members bassist Jonathan Adger, drummer Chris Wee, and guitarist Rory Friers have created some of the most uplifting jams in their career thus far (the band is now back to a four piece with the addition of new guitarist Naill Kennedy).
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Another change in the band’s sound is the more prominent use of gang vocals thorough out the album. Where the band’s previous release Gangs only had vocals on a few tracks, All Hail Bright Futures features some sort of creative variation of a vocal melody on almost every song with the highlight being track nine “Ka Ba Ta Bo Da Ka”. On this song the band creates a complex, playful roundabout that reminds me of something you may hear during the greatest birthday party of all time. ASIWYFA also make excellent use of additional instrumentation beyond guitar, drums, and bass. Throughout the album the band incorporates xylophones, horns, flutes, and steel drums as heard on the ultra tropical track six “Rats on a Rock”. It’s as if ASIWYFA took the technical heaviness of label mates Russian Circles and mixed it with the more worldly sound of Vampire Weekend.
While there has been a huge emphasis on a more upbeat sound this time around, the band has not sacrificed any of their intensity. All Hail Bright Futures features what has to be one of the more powerful mixes I have heard in some time. The way the guitar scorches and the absolute blast of the bass and drums is enough to cause a serious heart attack. This is most obvious on the beginning of the second track “Big Thinks Do Remarkable”, if you listen to this song and don’t get some sort of hyped up you may need to check your pulse to make sure you haven’t turned into a zombie. All Hail Bright Futures is divided up into 12 separate tracks, but the album almost functions as one entire piece of music with the majority of the compositions starting off with a more mellow interlude on one track and connecting to the next track which generally pummels you with extreme sunshine.
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I did not expect such an uplifting bright record from a band that had lost one of its founding members and had spent what seems the like last half decade on the road. You couldn’t blame ASIWYFA for being downtrodden and pissed, but the opposite has occurred. It’s very apparent throughout All Hail Bright Futures that ASIWYFA just love to be in a band and truly enjoy making music together. Although part of me does miss the more serious nature of the band’s previous work, their new album is perfect to either get the party started or put you in a better mood and with Springtime about to start, All Hail Bright Futures is the perfect soundtrack to usher the warm weather in.
Stream All Hail Bright Futures here
Purchase All Hail Bright Futures here