When a band has been around for over 25 years, you probably should stand up when they enter the room and definitely stop talking out of respect when they say something, unless you’re a dick. If you’re a dick, you can just close your ears and pretend it never happened. Probably to your detriment.
This week we explore an album which I personally think deserves your attention. An early entry that might make my top 10 for 2017, but we’ll just have to dig in for now.
AFI – Self-titled (The Blood Album)
released January 20, 2017
A Fire Inside, better known as AFI, are an American rock group that focuses on punk, alternative and emo music. The lineup hasn’t changed in almost twenty years, but only features two of the original four members – Davey Havok on vocals and drummer Adam Carson. Hunter Burgan provides bass support and Jade Puget is the guitarist, but all three instrumentalists share backup vocals. Having released tend studio-length albums now, AFI is the first self-titled album that AFI has completed.
Affectionately called “the blood album,” this record has been released on vinyl in four limited edition color variants matching the four blood types (A | O | B | AB). But is it any good, you ask?
I’ve been a fan of AFI since Sing The Sorrow hit the ground running, earning the band mainstream attention and Billboard attention for almost a year, just shy of a week. Then Decemberunderground came out and I was hooked, I picked up their back catalogue and haven’t looked back since. Granted, I don’t think Crash Love or Burials had quite the same visceral impact as AFI’s sixth and seventh efforts, but dammit if this self-titled album doesn’t remind me of Sing The Sorrow. And well, everything else they’ve ever done.
You see dear readers, at this point in their career AFI don’t have to take any real risks, but they are more than capable of revisiting genres they’ve already explored and giving a tempered reflection of what preceded, this even application of sonics is what reminds me of Sing The Sorrow – it’s intentional subdued but infinitely more thoughtful and considered.
Some of my favourite tracks include Aurelia, Hidden Knives, So Beneath You, Dumb Kids, Pink Eyes, and The Wind That Carries Me Away. None of these tracks are much like the other one, but each are familiar because AFI has been down these roads before.
Now before you accuse me of accepting this as a middle-of-the-road AFI and not A Fire Inside, you should know that Havok and Puget wrote over 60 songs before they got to this 14 track offering. And you need to listen to the whole album more than once, it gets better on subsequent viewings, like any good piece of art.
This is AFI committed to their art, and it’s a beautiful thing to witness.
As I sit with the realization that one of the last mega-stores of music and film is dying off and that I’ll have to change my own tactics going forward (read: goodbye HMV), it’s satisfying to know that music will still find a way. AFI are still relevant and that means more to me than cheap prices and the convenience of online shopping. But maybe I’ll learn to embrace that too. No harm in checking out a new theory.