AFTER THE Fire are a Christian Band. But don’t let that frighten you away. They don’t preach, they don’t sing songs about Jesus Christ and they don’t hand out tracts. Rather they make pretty good music of a kind that is becoming unfashionable in these days of anarchy and ecstasy.
At Brunel University After the Fire were under great pressure after their PA system went sick during the soundcheck. They were lucky perhaps that the refectory hall wasn’t crowded and that they had to communicate with no more than one hundred people at the most. They were very, very quiet.
But very immediate. After The Fire play a string of English Art Rock clichés a la Yes or Genesis. Sudden strict time changes, ornate and contorted organ and synthesizer riffs and over-busy bass. You’ll know what I mean ‘cos you’ll either love the stuff, or hate it, like I do.
And yet, from which ever direction you approach the band, you will find them quite strangely underivative and fresh. Much to my surprise I found After The Fire remarkably enjoyable.
And I think you will to, (should you go to see them) since even on stage the four Fires seem to be one of the friendliest and unaffected bands in a long while. Guitarist and vocalist Andy Piercy is the man under the spotlight and he confides in the audience at all times. He laughs too, and dances the ‘Marionette’ most amusingly, while behind him the drums, bass and keyboards shifts mood with a fluency that belies their inexperience.
So, with songs named ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ and ‘Samaritan Woman’ you can expect a streak of Biblical imagery in there somewhere, and, yes, Piercy’s high voice endows the music with a Jon Andersonian self-seriousness.
When all’s said and done After The Fire are a bit tame, they don’t invite you to dance like a real rock band does.
But I found them fun to listen to and as for the Christianity bit, well, I think it’s more one of those ‘Do As You Would Be Done By’ situations.
And you’re not about to argue with that one, are you?
© Chas de Whalley, Sounds, 13 November 1976