After Dark is a three-piece band from the Vancouver B.C. Area. The project is made up of Kaldy “Kabby” Blanchard (Guitar and Vocals), and cousins Brandon “Bee” Fernstrom (Drums) and Jory “WildChild” Fernstrom (Bass), who have been playing music together since they were 17. Kaldy is also a DJ and hiphop producer, while drummer Bee is a proficient rapper, and Jory plays bass in multiple bands. “Break Away” is their first studio album, and is the story of their lives – from early ambition, to living for the parties and heartache. Songwriter Kaldy also recorded and engineered the album.
The album bounces with rock-laden funkiness and melodic expansion flavored with rap grittiness, where each song veers towards its own original blend groovy entertainment. It could have been written in the 70’s, the 80’s or even the 90’s and it would have been a successful high-energy jam.
The fact that “Break Away” was written just now, only adds to its timelessness. You don’t often get to hear real guitars, drums and bass in recordings anymore. More importantly, they’re no longer played with this kind of ‘loose and live’ vibrancy.
With all that in mind, it makes sense that After Dark kick off the album with crunchy overdriven guitars inside a mesmerizing psychedelic haze on “Sundown”, before they let it all hang out on the acidized “Let’s Get It”. They sing, they rap, they groove, and literally blow the roof off the house here. But then the band swing the dial up to 11 on the thundering powerhouse, “Movin”, just to show you that they’ve got so much more still coming.
After Dark know how to conjure up a party atmosphere too, as they unfold the jangly guitars and the thumping drums, turning up the tempo on “I Am So Beat”. Kaldy “Kabby” Blanchard’s vocals hit their comfort zone on the forward momentum of “Colours” as he takes us on a rollercoaster ride. “Drownin’ in the Rain” brings in some ambient family sounds, before launching into a melodic soar and a rap extravaganza, all rolled into one four minute track.
The title track, “Break Away”, rides a funky rhythmic groove, upheld by shimmering guitars, rolling basslines and a swinging drumbeat. The urgency in Kaldy’s voice is never far behind as he steadily navigates the sonic template. “Live Comfortably” is a masterclass in how to write an emotional love song without all the slow-burning, overwrought sappiness. Simply turn up the volume and enjoy.
After Dark are at their best when they crank up the amps, and throw caution to the wind, which is exactly what they do on the bombastic “Get Up”, and the even harder-hitting “By My Side”. As a whole, each member of the band shines as an individual, and as a tight unit on this track, but it is worth pointing out that the lead riffs and solo is absolutely fantastic, while the bass and the drums really slam.
“I Can’t” is a sprawling mid-tempo jam that once again showcases Kaldy’s gritty vocal flow and heartfelt lyrical impact. A sophisticated acid-rock arrangement, a building progression, and an experimental breakdown, drives the engine room of “Pusherman”, before the project closes down with the brooding “The Way You Act”.
All throughout the album, After Dark turn out great original material that more than once takes on exciting directions. Add to that musical equation, the soaring vocals which elevate the songs even further, and you’re taken back to a classic era in rock music, so few are able to match these days.