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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

on 11 July 2001
I must confess to being extremely biased about After the Fire as they were my favourite band of the late 70's, early 80's. This album is a collection of near hits and favourite tracks from their 3 mainstream albums, Laser Love, 80-F and Batteries Not Included. It was put together for the US market after Der Kommissar went to number 5, and contains good remixed or re-recorded versions of One Rule for You and Dancing in Shadows. I always found the band inspirational and energetic both recorded and live. This CD does not disappoint and presents their best work. However, it shows its vinyl roots at only 48 minutes long. This means that a few ATF classics missed the cut. Occasionally the mix of styles from the three source albums jars on the ear, reminding me just how well the original albums fitted together. (With any luck they will be released if this compilation does well).
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on 2 December 2002
This is one of those albums you start to seek out in your mid-forties when a chance internet sighting brings memories of youth flooding back. ATF (or After the Fire, as I shall ever remember them) kicked off around 1974. That was the year of their first appearance at the Greenbelt Festival. The second one, I believe, was marked by a famous event involving some unexpected pyrotechnics. The band appeared on the open stage, announced their presence... and as the first chord crashed out the firework light show was meant to blaze the sky. Except that the wind was a little too strong and some of the rockets proceeded to whoosh into a hastily constructed (and even more hastily abandoned) stage dressing room.
All of which brings me to this compilation from the '80s. It certainly has its moments, and in theory many of the 'best bits' are here. But those early flashes of inspiration are rarely to be seen, and one or two of the tracks misfire, frankly. 'Joy' and 'One Rule For You' are classics of intelligent synth-pop. But it would be fascinating to hear something from the first album, 'Sign of Change' (Rapid Records, March 1978, released on cassette a couple of years later) where the influences were more progressive and those classic Hammond C3 and minimoog sounds had rather real space to do their stuff.
Caught between different musical sensibilities, shifting winds of fashion, and an uncertainty as to how far they were there for the music and how much as a cipher for The Message, ATF (as they re-named themselves in an increasingly desperate attempt to seem hip) fell apart at the seams. Which is a pity, because there was real potential there. I last saw them in London's Wardour Street in '79, just as they were negotiating the transition from Flash and ELP-influenced early years to the stripped-down dance ballads for which they became better known. They still have a web presence... believe it or not. They even did a reunion gig in '99, apparently. How wonderful it would be if 'Signs of Change' could make a long overdue re-appearance on CD. It would be interesting to discover whether the substance would live up to the memory. Meanwhile we have this CD to enliven the hope and give us a taste of what was (and a faint glimmer of what might have been).
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on 30 October 2015
Just as I remember it but clearer .
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on 3 September 2001
It was great to hear these sounds again and to realise what we have been missing all these years. It was a sad day at the Dominion to hear about the split, but this CD brings back the good times. Sadly One Rule For You, Dancing in the Shaddows, and Starflight are not the originals but Andy's recordings made after the band split. Good all the same. Andy's bass intro to Laser Love excites the spirit of every true die hard ATF fan. The blend of the with Pete's distinctive synth, Ivor's drumming and John's guitar produces a contained New Wave sound. Pity it couldn't have continued with the original One Rule which sounds as if it's from the remnant from the last days of the New Romantic movement. Dancing in the Shaddows is a good re-recording and follow up to the Der Kommissar hit. It was interesting to hear the dub version for the first time. Strange, but unmistably ATF. How much more has this true fan yet to hear?
Other tracks appear on this CD for the first time. Sometimes, Sailing Ship, and Cary Me Home. They sound as fresh as ever and upon hearing them again one wonders why these songs, especially Sometimes were not released as singles? The rock and pop tensions begin to emerge in these songs which ultimately led to the premature breakup of the band. Only two tracks make it from the 80F album. Love will Always Make You Cry, and 1980-F. The latter being one of the best instrumentals of the 80's and should be acknowledged as so, as Joy is one of, if not the best instumental of the 70's and was regularly played on BBC1 on a saturday night. (Tell the vicar that I want this song to be played at my funeral) The music itself produces this in biblical proportions. At least in my heart. The tracks blend well together and some sound fresher then many other rereleases of recent times. It only serves to remind ATF fans that this band was indeed Too Hot To Handle and didn't really get the support from radio that they richly deserved. My only complaint is the sleave notes may not be too accurate. They miss John Russell out of the songwriting credits on Sometimes and say that Ivor Twidell replace Pete King, when it was the other way round. Still, this album results as the best buy that this ATF fan will buy. Unless of course someone releases the full catalouge. Surely that must be.
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on 12 October 2001
Sometime back in 1977, while I was helping out as a leader at a local church youth group, I overheard a comment from one of my colleagues which went something like... "Why are all Christian bands c**p?"
To which our trainee curate replied: "Have you ever heard of After The Fire?"
To cut a long story short, it was about couple of months later that I found myself turning up at my first (and only) live ATF gig.
This was in the early days of the band, before John Russell had joined. Andy Piercy was singing and playing lead guitar, and they had a guy called Nick Battle on bass. Otherwise, the line up was as on this album. Their influences at the time were no doubt the progressive rock bands of the early-mid 70's (Yes, ELP), and in fact, after the concert (which blew my mind!!) we all suggested that Peter Banks ought to change his name to 'Keith'.
So, this CD is not just an interesting piece of nostalgia for me, but an exceedingly good rock album. It captures the musical development of ATF and their willingness to experiment with a whole range of musical styles. Check out 'Carry Me Home' (shades of Kraftwerk?), and the title track 'Der Kommissar', which reminds me of the MC Hammer approach to rap, bass and drums.
The tracks 'Laser Love', 'Starflight' and 'Frozen Rivers' capture the raw power that I experienced live over twenty years ago! The instrumental tracks 'Joy' and '1980-F' are virtuoso Peter Banks.
Perhaps the reason why ATF never went on to greater things, was that they never settled on a musical style of their own. I don't know. I also wonder if the original Christian ideal may have been compromised by their desire for commercial success? Although I'm sure there are deeper meanings to the words of 'Sometimes'.
I'm sorry if this is a bit long winded, but It's not often you get the chance to review the work of a bunch of guys you once sat down and chatted with backstage.
Buy this album. There is something on it to please everyone.
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on 13 April 2011
have all on vinyl but great to have now on cd so can put on ipod, don't think have listened to ATF for about 20 years and had forgotten how much I enjoyed them, excellent purchase!
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on 13 January 2005
ATF were a fantastic band who, for some reason, never hit the big time at home in the UK, despite having success abroad and being a particularly strong live act. While this is an interesting compilation and contains tracks not available elsewhere, the liner notes are in places completely fictitious and the versions of "One Rule For You", "Dancing In The Shadows" and "Starflight" are re-recordings from 1982. "Starflight" is great, and the re-recorded "Dancing" ain't bad, but the 2 CD set released on 31 January 2005 contains the original versions and a lot more besides. (And if you buy it from ATF's website, you get a free CD with extra tracks!) So, if you want a comprehensive compilation, get the 2 CD set (and "Signs of Change", also available on CD at last). Or, if you're a fan who wants all the different mixes and versions available, then get this as well!
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on 10 July 2003
There is no serious opposition to the fact that After The Fire were THE premier live act of their time.
Although the band split in 1982 there will be a re-union from "friends" and fans of the band on 27th March 2004 in Southend-on-sea (UK).
The event will feature rare and unseen footage of the band in action, there will be an opportunity to meet band members and there may even be some live music (maybe!!!).
Oh......Go on!!!!!
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on 23 December 2001
Don't be put off by the fact that they were a Christian band; they made great music and that's what counts here! They shared a stage with U2 early on for a Radio 1 "In concert". For some reason U2 took the high road and ATF took the low road but they are (were!) better than their total anonymity would suggest. Give it a go.
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