Afterbliss – Unknown Machine | Dublin’s newest game changing alt-rock
Afterbliss’s latest EP Unknown Machine is out now, with five tracks on the list and a runtime of eighteen minutes and thirty-seven seconds. The band started coming together unofficially in 2018, but the whole outfit was put together in only 2020. Releasing their debut single ‘Until Sunrise’ in November 2021, the band has consistently put out singles that have all been bangers. These have garnered Afterbliss a reputation as one of the most interesting acts to have come up in the Brit Rock scene recently.
The band comprises five members. There is Alex Burcea, the guitarist and synth player, and drummer Ally Pender who founded the band. They had performed together previously and found their musical style aligning and sparking. They were joined by lead vocalist Evan Cassidy, their guitarist James O’ Gorman, and the bassist Shane Waldron. Together, their sound blends melodic rock, indie synth pop, and hard guitar riffs that set the mood.
About the EP Unknown Machine
The album opens with Remnants, a wildly zestful song. The production combines 90s style disco synth with traditional rock and roll elements. The song has a light footed beat and electric guitar riffs at every turn. The drums are reverberating throughout, and the numbers offers contemporary take on old-school rock.
Then comes Castaway, and the whole mood changes. Not only is the beat on this track slower and calmer than its predecessor, but it also has elements of 2000’s pop-rock. I especially enjoyed the bridge to the ending on the track with the multi-intrumental riffs and melodies. Castaway reminds me of bands like Hoobastank, but the edgy vocals remind me that it’s a different rock group altogether.
Marking the EP’s midpoint is Until Sunrise, opening with a high electric riff and drums that immediately fill you with enthusiasm and positivity. At the same time, the lyrics also invoke the feelings of that unrequited puppy love that changes the course of our lives forever. The track also follows that trend of head-bobbing bridges set earlier in the EP.
Empty Spaces is dynamically different from the other tracks on this album. Heavier on the syntha nd production, the quieted instrumental arrangement allows for the vocals to shine on this track. Furthermore, this track definitely has the most poetic lyrics in this album despite the other songs being stiff competition.
Closing the album is Kiss & Tell, and it invokes a sense of purposeful calm. No wonder, this is the band’s most streamed song – it is emotional, carefree, and confident. The persistent guitar riff is not amiss on me, as are the lyrics. Distraught and brokenhearted, the vocalist considers talking about his sorrow, but his morality require him to contain the pain inside him.
Finding their way to Windmill Lane Studios in September 2020, Afterbliss stumbled upon the dream team. Their producer is Alan Kelly who has worked with Kings of Leon, Herbie Hancock, and the likes. Sound engineer Fergal Davies is another genius who has worked with Muse, Sinead O’ Connor, and other great artists. It is no superise, then, that Unknown Machine is a short but powerful EP.
Each song has a unique flavour, production style, and aesthetic vibe. And this album is testament to Afterbliss’ skill, their craft, and their unique sensibilities which have already set them apart in the indie music scene of Dublin.