And So I Watch You From Afar - All Hail Bright FuturesThis is not ‘Gangs’ by any stretch of the imagination. ‘All Hail Bright Futures’ may take a few listens to gather what exactly is going on.

A frenzied mix of weird sounds that all come together in one And So I Watch You From Afar tinged album, one that isn’t going to appeal to everyone with its more than openly upbeat sound coupled with some unexpected vocals. This is by no means the same band that gave us their two previous and much praised installations.

This is ASIWYFA at its core, but that core is suddenly layered with experimentation and a willingness to try new things. Evolution can be good, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a mistake along the way somewhere.

Unlike many of their math rock counterparts, the same band that brought us Search: Party Animal and Set Guitars to Kill are known for being edgy. Alas this isn’t ASIWYFA part III.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They still manage to outdo nearly every other act in their genre, through sheer character and stylisation alone. The album isn’t stagnated and the sound is fresh in so many ways, that a comparison to their previous works is almost unfair. The openly poppy samba sounds that lace themselves throughout the album are a far cry from the heavier raw guitars we’re used to. It’s all about delivery.

The band are still fun and have still created a behemoth of sound, only one that invites a crowd to join them in live sessions; the layered melodies and vocals will have many more voices crooning to be heard when the band are on stage. The inclusion of numerous additional instruments and the clear-cut electronic influences found throughout are a significant development.

Tracks like Trails, however, feel out of place and almost like filler. The album lacks cohesion and with that, comparisons to previous work will always be drawn. This album is full of positive energy and much less aggression than previous works. Condemning it for that  is unnecessary, and in fact should be looked upon as a stepping stone of a band that are willing to try new things so as not to become lifeless. All things considered, much like every ASIWYFA album so far, ‘All Hail Bright Futures’ is full of life.

And So I Watch You From Afar – All Hail Bright Futures