Afterlights
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Afterlights

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
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"Change of the Seasons"

The transition from spring to summer often marks a shift in the local music scene each year.

As the weather continues to warm, more people are going out and the audiences tend to grow. Patios begin opening and outdoor stages become common, providing another outlet for our local musicians, as well. This year, however, more than years past, the transition also marks the beginning of a season of CD releases.

This week is the first of no less than five consecutive weekends of CD releases, spanning everything from hard rock to rap, punk, Americana, indie rock and everything in between.

While Samantha Crain will undoubtedly mesmerize with her third release for Ramseur records and show out at Bob's on Friday night (See more details from C.M. Rodriguez on Page 41), we've also got a young new band that's in danger of being overlooked.

Comprised of four high school friends from the Berryhill area, Afterlights has already grown stylistically since the foursome began playing together three years ago. According to lead vocalist Cale Chronister, who also plays guitar and keyboards, the guys started out playing worship music at their Wednesday night youth group and a bond was formed.

From there, they became a real group and began a musical journey that's already seen the group explore and transition styles and become stronger musicians and songwriters.

Granted, the idea of a worship group transitioning to becoming a rock band might make some people cringe. How many times have we heard the rhetoric, "We believe in God and we're Christians, but we don't consider ourselves a Christian band..."? I've heard it far too often, only to be followed by weak songwriting.

That's not the case with Afterlights, however. Yes, the group is young and has much room for growth, but the songwriting is already ahead of many of the band's peers. Influenced by the more commercial side of indie-rock (if that's possible), the band melds pop-smart melodies with an emotive, indie sensibility.

Lyrically, the group's faith is apparent but doesn't come across as preachy. According to Chronister, who writes the lyrics, most of the songs are more about his doubts: doubt in God, himself or outside situations.

It's a theme that takes hold from the opening strains of the title track, "Bolivar," with the lyric "I'll try to be more content with what I do, but the only thing that's left in me is you."

More often than not, the songs search doubt and discontent, yet find a positive spin.

What's most interesting is the band's musical development. After starting out as a worship band, the guys started playing together and writing outside that setting and explored a pop-punk direction before finding influence in bands like Radiohead, Copeland and Deathcab for Cutie. The group even released its first EP just more than a year ago but has developed in leaps and bounds in the past 12 months.

According to Chronister, the band jumped at the opportunity when Jonathan VanRisseghem took an interest in the group and offered to produce its next disc. The recording process began nearly a year ago and Chronister said, "It's been a non-stop learning experience ever since."

Part of that experience has included a more concentrated focus on songwriting as the band took the time to specifically work on each verse, chorus and transition.

The results are far from those of your typical high school band.
Although Chronister notes the aforementioned bands as influences, Afterlights doesn't come off as just another young band of impressionists. The urgency of youth and energy of the group's pop-punk phase still comes through, now balancing it with a new emotive response. Yes, there's a touch of Radiohead in there, along with a bit of Deathcab and Modest Mouse. To my ears, however, I hear a sound more in the vein of Copeland, Lovedrug and Mae.

Considering the band's youth and how quickly the songwriting has progressed, Afterlights might be one of the best indicators of what we have developing under the surface in our younger and heretofore overlooked young bands. I can only expect the groups will continue to evolve into something even more creative in time but can find no argument with where they are at right now.

Afterlights will be holding a CD release party for its new six-song EP, Keep Yourself Awake, Friday night, May 28, at The Marquee.

Doors open at 6:30pm, and music starts at 7pm with Mandy & Erin, followed by Van Risseghem and Zeke Duhon before Afterlights take over and present the new material in a live setting.

Tickets are $10 and include a copy of the new disc at the show. Friday night is busy and packed with great shows, but this is the one to stop at if you want of peek at some of our most promising young artists.

Festival Update

Rocklahoma may be getting all of the mainstream and commercial attention this weekend, and we've even taken note of it here in the pages of Urban Tulsa (see Page 41), but the show that's l - Urban Tulsa Weekly


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Afterlights' music is a pure distillation of all the magic and romance to be found in the South Seas. It is a vivid tone portrait of waving palms, blue seas and bluer skies, spectacular moonlight, and exotic cuisine. Afterlights is Cale Chronister, Jacob Theriot, and Christian Theriot, who are musical wizards that can transport you several thousand miles with their shimmering pop melodies and their leisurely vibes. When listening to Afterlights you'll find yourself under the spell of an enchanted island in the Pacific.

Band Members