I have been a big fan of A Fire Inside for some time, even before they went big time with the hit 'Girl's Not Grey' from album 'Sing The Sorrow'. This, in fairness, came a bit out of the blue to many people who hadn't realised that the band had a very healthy history with almost half a dozen albums - and some killer EP's - already under their belt.
'Crash Love', their eighth full length and possibly, it would be fair to say, their most ambitious release to date, arrives with very little fanfare it would seem surrounding the release. Maybe the confidence within the band is such that they will let the music do the talking. Davey Havoc having had a short back and sides to coincide as well has probably caused more of a stir than anything musical on this release, with his adouring girlie following.
Anyway, onto the music; 'Veronica Sawyer Smokes' was surely written for the radio and will possibly see them saturate the music video stations from now til the next Green Day video, at least. The dozen songs on offer showcase a more mature and mellower AFI, that's not to say it's bad, in fact it's pretty damn good. 'Ok, I Feel Better Now' shows a mature diversion for the band with its brooding intro and great melody from Mr Havok. The lead single 'Medicate' comes over sounding not a million miles from The Mission around their 'Children' period when they rocked out. Again, this is not a bad thing at all as I love the Mish. In fact, all in all it's quite a restrained affair and a lot more laid back than AFI of old.
I don't think I'd have predicted such a slick and all grown up album being released in 2009 when I was moshing to 'The Art Of Drowning' in 2000 or even further back on the superb 'Answer That And Stay Fashionable', but they have delivered a grown up album with a far richer tapestry of music going on than the early spunky hardcore efforts. Maybe 'Crash Love' might have more longevity than it's predecessors and see this band grow even bigger in 2009-2010, 'Constantly Evolving' should have been the title for this album. AFI are growing up in public - warts n all. Some will love it and some will want them to stand still and stay a cult band, but on this evidence that ain't gonna happen. I'm still a big fan of AFI.