'Afterthoughts' is a daring debut from a self-admittedly quiet and reserved brother and sister pair. Paul and Steph O’Sullivan from Killarney, Ireland, take some musical risks and chances in their debut album, but their drive and passion are evident in their sound and give their music a sense of urgency, compelling the listener to dig deeper into the meanings behind the words.
Steph, who provides the main vocals, has a high-pitched, nasal voice that sails through the melody lines beautifully considering her reported lack of vocal training. Some listeners may find her untrained vowels mildly offensive; as a Western New Yorker, I find her over-pronounced “a” vowels normal, but others may find it jarring. The lyrics are easy to follow and very catchy. Her voice is reminiscent of the early days of Paramore, when Hayley Williams’ voice was less developed. With more training and practice, Steph could certainly reach or potentially surpass Williams’ popularity and vocal flexibility.
The title track 'Afterthoughts' is the perfect post-breakup song, with kiss-off lyrics like “I found this kingdom myself, with roses grown in Hell; and I can’t see you anymore.” The instrumentals throughout the track are composed perfectly in sync with the story the lyrics tell and are the perfect blend of alternative rock and soulful ballad.
“Wander”, track number 10 on the album, is arguably the best track on the album. Beginning with a repeated keyboard/synth part, the main vocals come in as a “call to arms” of sorts. Steph sings “I can’t help but wonder if we were meant for so much more than they say”, before the instrumental line opens up into a heart-wrenching chorus that is perfect for those warm spring days when you want to drive around with the windows down.
'Afterthoughts' will be released via Spinefarm Records on January 27th.
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