Light Years - Afterlife
7.8Overall Score

Light Years, Afterlife
Rude Records

Almost a decade into their career as a band, American pop-punk band Light Years are back at it with the release of new album Afterlife. Kicking off the eleven-track quest is the endearingly nostalgic single Back Then. Jamming in fast tempos, ceaseless riffs and just the right amount of lyrical cliché, it manages to both reflect on their past experiences as a band and hype up the success they have yet to come. If an album is going to start on a nostalgic note, this is how it should be done.

Next track Bottom Of The Ocean sinks the mood back down with a more sedated rhythm and swanky bass. Oozing with a degree of attitude and confidence that only comes with experience, it’s the perfect example of Light Years’ ability to produce monumental choruses and dramatic bridges without seeming tired. Lost On The Way Home knocks things back up a gear with an assault course of frenzied riffs. Fighting to keep the chaos in check, singer Pat Kennedy keeps things locked down with a chorus you can’t help but sing along to, artfully striking the balance between messy and carefree.

Single Graveyard captures their signature sound of meticulously layered guitars while Kennedy churns out deliciously misunderstood lyrics. Experimenting with a more boisterous chorus than expected, it’s made clear that Light Years have returned with a vengeance. How Are You keeps up appearances as a crashing chorus blends flawlessly with melodic harmonies, guaranteeing it will be a success live. It’s also the first time a ‘real’ guitar solo features on the album, ripping the spotlight away from the previously dominating bass and channeling its own spark into Afterlife.

Frustratingly, Bottle Rocket is somewhat of a disappointment compared to its predecessors. Despite being stuffed with the usual ingredients of bold riffs and heartfelt metaphors, something about the resultant track comes across as stale and flat. Don’t get too upset about it though – it’s now time for Burning In My Blood’s swaggering bassline to swoop in and save the day. Supplying the strong-willed mentality you’d hoped Bottle Rocket would have had, it breathes new life into the album as Kennedy saunters through his headstrong lyrics of defiance. The bass is unfaltering once more as it drives the track forwards, hurling out a sickeningly catchy chorus and working with an equally unrelenting drum beat to gift us an anthem that refuses to be ignored.

You don’t have long to recover, though. Before Burning In My Blood’s strutting rhythm has had time to die down, Paradise rushes in to pick up the pace once more. Featuring yet another handsome selection of riffs and a clap-along beat, this Ohio quartet are making a point of going out with a bang. Squeezing out every ounce of energy they have left, it’s the pop-punk masterpiece that fans could only dream of.

Only, it isn’t quite the end yet. Heart-wrenching ballad If I Knew Then still needs to see the album to a close. With echoing chords that wouldn’t be out of place on one of Moose Blood’s most tortured of ballads, it’s a welcomed change in tone after a 10-track rampage. Staying true to their pop-punk roots with lyrics of old polaroids and not caring about what people think, this song only needs you to show one moment of weakness and it will have you in floods. Bringing all four members together, it’s the perfect triumph to end Afterlife on.

Afterlife is out now via Rude Records.