28 Nov 2022

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The After - Single Review: Doesn't Matter

01 Feb 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

Andrew Featherstone has been a mainstay of the New Zealand music scene for years, running his label/studio Intergalactic Records while for more than 25 years he has been running Battle of the Bands in NZ, as well as launching it internationally. If that wasn’t enough, he is also a bassist and songwriter who has performed alongside No Doubt, Collective Soul, Silverchair and Everclear. The After is his latest project, and alongside him there is vocalist Blue (Elk) and guitarist Vance Manu, who have both been in winning Battle of the Bands groups. Keyboard player Bruce Madden joined on Hammond Organ for the last batch of 2021 tour dates while the newest addition is drummer Gareth Scott (The Tuesdays, The Bobby Holidays and Landslide).

They released their debut single, Clear To Me, last year and it was played by more than 500 radio stations worldwide. Now they are back with Doesn’t Matter, which was co-produced by Andrew with Grammy-nominated, ARIA-winning UK producer Steve James (Sex Pistols, Monty Python, Thin Lizzy, The Jam, Cold Chisel and many more). Needless to say, the sound is great, and here we have a single which is powerful on so many levels. It starts with crunching guitars, with a lead guitar line, but just when one expects it to explode it takes on a far more reggae tinge before the first verse. Suddenly, every is mellow, and although Vance is still there in the background, the attention is drawn mostly to the keyboards and the vocals. Blue has one of those voices which is always packed full of emotion, and whether he is singing softly or belting it out, there is real breadth and control and the impression he can do so much more with it when the need arises.

The chorus takes us back to the rock, while the returning verse sees us back in the ska/reggae area in the foreground with rock noodlings in the back. On paper this is quite strange, yet when listening to it, this really works, as the contrast between the different styles means that each section is more dynamic because of what has come before and also what is to come. One can imagine this being a real banger in concerts, with all the crowd singing along when the band crank it up. The song slows down near the end, but then it starts to build the drama, and by the end it is really rocking. Superb.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About The After

New Zealand Music Industry stalwart Andrew Featherstone has done his time having recorded and promoted hundreds of up and coming artists over the past 30 years as label, studio and Battle of the Bands National Championship and World BOTB competition owner.

What some may not know about Featherstone is that he’s a songwriter and bass player in his own right, one who’s had his fair share of close calls in the success stakes. His most recent project The After with debut single Clear To Me is creating the most interest in his career to date.

Having been signed to MCA/Universal last year, Grammy nominated producer Steve James (Sex Pistols, The Rutles, Ginger Baker, Paul Young, Shirley Bassey, Monty Python’s Life of Brian (incl. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life..)), was recruited and the first single recorded.

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