Heaven 17 Duo Form New Splinter Faction – Afterhere

The cover looks urban futuristic, but looks are deceiving

I recently got wind of a new branch growing from the Heaven 17 tree and just remembered to investigate it. I heard about this a few months ago and discussed it with the H17 fans that I knew, and Berenice Scott has spent a lot of time playing with Glenn Gregory as a member of both Heaven 17 since 2011 and Holy Holy; Woody Woodmansy’s Bowiecentric band. Their new album as Afterhere was released a couple of months ago as a DL and now the actual CD dropped earlier this month.

Glenn writes but Berenice sings lead on Addict

The duo had their origins in the soundtrack work that kept Gregory busy in all of his [sadly, considerable] H17 downtime. Gregory and his long term soundtrack partner reached the end of the line after years of working together and Glenn found himself working far too many hours at his various recent commissions solo for his taste, so with years of working with Ms. Scott under his belt, he thought it would be a natural progression to take her on as a writing partner since they were already in two bands together. He knew that they could get along well under fire, with various touring commitments having made a strong foundation for their partnership.

They did a few jobs scoring together and the notion of writing songs together came up naturally. Ms. Scott already had a solo career with a few albums out over the last dozen or so years. Having grown up with Robin “M” Scott as her father, she got classical training as a young girl, so she brought serious musicianship to the task. After they had began writing songs they finally coined the name Afterhere as the group’s identifier. Berenice drifted into the singing role so Gregory could step aside form the mic for a change. How does it sound?

Hmmm. Very different from what we get from Heaven 17. The clip for “Addict” had a pop-centric thrust with a touch of dark electronic ambience, but it seemed closer to my idea of whatever constitutes the mainstream these days than the sort of material that I turn to H17 for. The personal/relationship lyric was also less than catnip for me. If groups are going to sing about romantic fixation they had better bring their music/arrangement game to the table to maintain my interest. Your mileage may vary. After sampling the entire album, I was shocked to find that some of the songs even sat cheek-by-jowel with the sort of material that Scott has previously released solo, which sat firmly in the singer/songwriter mold. I was surprised to find that the whole thing was not compelling to my ears. The album had a cover of “All Along The Watchtower” which was released as a single [complete with non-LP B-side!] but stands as the least interesting version of that chestnut I’ve ever heard.

The group just performed their live debut on October 6th, so this will be a further example of Berenice and Glenn touring together if they have anything to say about it. I wish I could get more excited about it. Initially I had high hopes, but this one is not for me. It feels strange passing up a project that was formed by two members of Heaven 17 but I have to say that I could not hear a bit of that band in the results. This just seemed like typical pop music to me, but if it speaks to you, then by all means order here.

– 30 –

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12 Responses to Heaven 17 Duo Form New Splinter Faction – Afterhere

  1. dhrichards says:

    Not going to argue- the music is pleasant enough, well produced etc etc etc . But… yeah… just not great, but fine.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      dhrichards – That’s it, in a nutshell. I’d be happier if they had so much H17 and even Holy Holy work to keep them fully busy. Also, the New Wave techno-packaging perhaps oversells the H17 connection here; setting me up for a synth heavy experience that doesn’t seem to be there.

      Like

  2. SimonH says:

    Robin Scott’s daughter, wow, I didn’t know that. Really wanted to like this but not blown away sadly.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      SimonH – They’ve placed a song or two in a TV series from this and more power to them, but I can’t imagine springing for this. Up front I was ready to order and waiting for the CD version.

      Like

  3. SimonH says:

    I saw one of the series, again that was moderately enjoyable but not great! The album cover looked really hopeful as well.

    Like

  4. Echorich says:

    So far my mileage has certainly varied…
    I’ve listened to Addict a number of times. It is an uneven collection of songs, lacks a sense of continuity. Having said that, I don’t feel it attempts to fit in with currents in “Electronic Pop.” The title track is certainly the stand out track. It trades in Gregory and Scott’s approximation of recent darker Massive Attack tracks, and that is not a bad thing at all.
    I have been in a certain mood for things that remind me of L.A/Southern California in the late 70s/early 80s. I Won’t Cry satisfies that sound lust perfectly with its fragile emotional balladry. Musically it is chock full of synth sounds that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Berlin album of 35 years ago, but is also very fresh, timeless. Some of the craft on this album is in how Gregory and Scott manage to pay homage to Pop styles without sounding cliche.
    Darkstar finds Gregory at the mic along with Scott, and it was nice to hear some familiar synth parts, especially at the beginning of the track. It’s a slow burner, rather than an early H17 “chanter.” but if feels as though that’s the artistic choice as I could see the track with a full on H17 treatment quite easily.
    Finally, I wouldn’t write off Afterhere too quickly. Last year I found an instrumental, quite ambient piece they let out into the interweb called Sepia. It is full of layers weaving in and out of each other with “splatters” of sound adding dimension and Bernice’s ethereal/hypnotic vocals give it flight.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Well, I didn’t stream the whole album. I just saw the video and sampled in iTunes. Maybe if I was hearing more of a soundtrack feel it would have grabbed my lapels more firmly.

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  5. negative1ne says:

    I’m sorry, i’m a huge heaven 17 fan, and i’ve listened to pretty much every
    side project, solo project and other efforts,and this one doesn’t even register
    for me.

    Look up ‘ugly – boom the future’, or ‘ glenn gregory and goldpeople – music don’t stop’
    for starters. i can go on and on and on, etc.

    later
    -1

    Like

    • Echorich says:

      I like Boom The Future quite a bit. Gregory with synth programming wizard John Uriel (R.I.P.) took the Heaven 17 sound into the Pop/House world with aplomb. Much of the sound of Heaven 17’s Before After owes a debt to Boom The Future, in my mind.
      Afterhere – I like the linear feel of the word After showing itself again – is a completely different animal. I will agree with anyone that states there was no reason for All Along The Watchtower – although the reason for recording it was for the fantastic reboot of Vanity Fair which stormed UK tv recently.
      I can’t fault Gregory and Scott for working is a very different genre, they are artists with enough under their belts that they have the right to work in any genre they are interested in. As you stated Monk, “your mileage may vary.”

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      • postpunkmonk says:

        Echorich – “Before/After” was definitely H17 in pop house format but the lyrics were not the pointed politics I was needing in the dawn of the 21st century, so that album was disappointing to me. I have barely listened to it. The singles since then were much more in line with what I need from H17. Speaking of which, where’s that next album?!?!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      negative1ne – Yeah. This seems like a (very) slight move left from Ms. Scott’s extant solo career. I didn’t detect much Gregory DNA in the results. The tech-noir cover sets the listener up for Goldfrapp then delivers Jewel. Did I see that Malcolm Garrett had something to do with it somewhere? I hope not.

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      • negative1ne says:

        If you really want to go down the obscure road, I have a few more, this collaboration with the Mexican artist Isaac Junkie:
        https://www.discogs.com/Isaac-Junkie-Feat-Glenn-Gregory-Something-About-You/release/5326846

        There are several mixes, and they are pretty decent. You can find it
        on ewetube if you want to check it out.
        ——
        1 –Isaac Junkie Feat. Glenn Gregory Something About You (Radio Version) 4:30
        2 –Isaac Junkie Feat. Glenn Gregory Something About You (Trance Electro Mix) 4:36
        3 –Isaac Junkie Feat. Glenn Gregory Something About You (Deep Electro Mix) 4:12
        4 –Isaac Junkie Feat. Glenn Gregory Something About You (Minimal Drugs King Mix) 4:25
        5 –Isaac Junkie Feat. Glenn Gregory Something About You (Unplugged) 3:30

        And for martyn ware, something really experimental:
        Vincent Clarke* & Martyn Ware Massive 5:56

        This experimental instrumental with vince clarke:
        https://www.discogs.com/Various-Music-For-The-3rd-Millennium-Vol-3/release/1973231

        Again, there are still 3 or 4 other obscure tracks out there
        I haven’t gotten yet.

        But definitely more in the vein of what you would expect.

        later
        -1

        Like

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