I usually postpone writing reviews on records that let me down. I want to give it every chance and then some. But I feel pretty confident about my current feelings on Ásgeir’s sophomore record—Afterglow.
Ásgeir’s debut, In the Silence, was one of my favorite albums in 2014. It was one of the best-singer songwriter albums I had ever heard. Both distinct yet accessible, In the Silence was a breath of fresh air. It wasn’t remarkably deep or catastrophically ground-breaking musically. But it was beautiful. If you have not listened to that record, as I’ve said before, stop reading this and listen to it.
Let me put it this way—the first three tracks on Afterglow are fantastic, after that, not much. The record as a whole is an even further shift from In the Silence of a combination of acoustic guitar and synths with orchestra parts. The synths are much more of the focus on Afterglow which I like overall as a change in direction. “King and Cross” consisted of that same direction and was one of my favorite tracks on In the Silence. I do like “Underneath It”‘s unconventional instrumental after the chorus. “New Day” is reminiscent of the organic feel of In the Silence even lyrically. “Fennir Yfir” ramps up to a beautifully contained crescendo. But the chorus in “Here Comes the Wave In” is discombobulated and crowded. “I Know You Know” doesn’t really go anywhere. And “Dreaming” feels like a B-side track that made it to the album.
Afterglow is a letdown for me. Ásgeir has the chance to change the game and become one of those centerpiece artists in my discography. Unfortunately, instead of squeezing every ounce of potential out of Ásgeir’s talent and creativity, Afterglow feels like it came after the afterglow had already passed by.
Album Artwork: 7/10
Top 10 Potential: No