Life Is Beautiful
The positive message running through The Afters’ Life Is Beautiful is tempered by the knowledge that suffering often walks hand in hand with sorrow. The Texas-bred Christian band’s fourth album is rooted in its members’ recent personal struggles, including the death of their longtime manager and a near-fatal car wreck involving lead singer Josh Havens and his family. As on previous releases, The Afters frame serious themes in buoyant musical settings that mix breezy melodies with propulsive rhythms and electronica embellishment. Tracks like “Love Is in the Air” and “Every Good Thing” celebrate the band’s collective faith with body-grabbing beats and shout-along vocals. The title track (heard in the film October Baby) acknowledges heartache while expressing gratitude for life's ordinary joys. Beneath the album’s soaring hosannas is an unshakable spiritual resolve, evident in the redemptive imagery of “Broken Hallelujah” and “Believe (Waiting for an Answer).” “In My Eyes” is a particular high point. Throughout, The Afters display the sleek pop/rock tunefulness that's earned them a loyal following among Christian and mainstream pop/rock fans alike.