AFI, The Missing Man
Ex Noctem Nacimur
Once upon a time, Davey Havok and co. might have shared common ground with a few of the more mainstream American punk acts. Fifteen years on from Sing The Sorrow, though, and AFI have become ten times as interesting as Green Day. On this EP, they prove the point time and time again. Trash Bat is enormous and serves as the perfect entrée to a record that feels like it was produced sometime in the early 1980s, probably with members of The Cure behind the mixing desk. It perfectly represents a band who know better than to over-polish their music in the hope of charming radio playlisters. The Missing Man is gothic and romantic – and it really does feel just as wild as those adjectives suggest – it’s an exciting development for a band who hinted at this next step with last year’s AFI (The Blood Album). And, sure, there are only five tracks here, but they’ve been invested with more depth than your average album’s worth of output. Listen to Break Angels for evidence. It’s as much a pitch-black room as it is a song, but the chorus is a flash of light, and of course it shines all the brighter because of its inky surroundings. Then there’s Get Dark, which is how Duran Duran might have ended up sounding if they’d been playing at CBGB rather than on a yacht. More than two decades into their career, AFI have just released the best music of their career. How’s that for a Christmas miracle?