AFI having been doing the business for over twenty seven years now, and in that time they’ve released ten albums and twelve EPs to become well-recognised members, if not ambassadors, of the alternative scene. Yet, even after all that time, the Californian four-piece are still capable of a surprise or two – this time coming in the shape of their ‘The Missing Man’ EP.
While only five tracks in length, this EP is packed full of the typical inventiveness and detailed instrumentalism that many have come to expect from AFI. Straight in with the eccentric ‘Trash Bat’, we#re welcomed with open arms by throbbing drums, slick popping bass lines, and large vocal chants, with all elements combining to form a solid opener.
‘Break Angels’ feels like emo with an extra dollop of groove, stomping along with powerful intent and a chorus that bursts open from all angles. There’s a certain ambiance in the supporting synths and echoing guitars, before distorted, buzzing riffs and chords cut straight through to produce a memorable chorus.
Every member of the band really plays their part on this EP. Davey Havok‘s multi-layered vocals add an extra dimension to the front of the mix, Hunter Burgan‘s sliding bass hooks on ‘Trash Bat’ and ‘Get Dark’ simmer beneath, while Adam Carson‘s drum patterns are almost unpredictable and are brilliantly bouncing, and Jade Puget‘s chugging guitars and sublime solos showcase his true technical ability.
The softest moment of the record comes in the somewhat stripped back title-track finale, that sees acoustic guitars and strings join Havok‘s more relaxed notes. It’s a song that blossoms the further it progresses, as a dissonant bridge builds to a rather thunderous conclusion that once more sees Carson putting some welly into another rip-roaring solo.
While only five-tracks long, ‘The Missing Man’ is a cracking release from the punk rock veterans AFI. If you needed proof that these guys can keep creating music worth listening to after all this time, then this EP is the proof.