It may be due entirely to their choice of single (the album's opener Are You Not Wanting Me Yet?) for its commercial viability, that The Aftermath give the first impression of just another in the very long line of mediocre, forgettable indie rock bands currently doing the rounds. And though a large proportion of 'Friendlier Up Here' fits that mould, there is more at work here. It's almost as if there are two separate groups on this album - one repetitive, unremarkable, and one dark and complex.
Hints of this complexity appear early in the album on I Wish My Love Would Die where The Aftermath demonstrate their aptitude for creating full, dense soundscapes with ambitious reverberating strings, epic grand piano, agitated backing vocals and solid drums. The album then retreats back to its standard rock safehouse (as it tends to do) until the Madness-esque opening of One is Fun, followed by the gloom-ridden Overlooking Paris, in which Johnny Cronin's deep vocals are reminiscent of Jack L, surrounded as they are by European influenced mandolin and accordion. With a guest appearance from Damien Rice's former cellist Vyvienne Long, thoughtful strings layer several songs, beautifully so on closer Song of a Graveyard.
It's a shame that the more skippable tracks on this album are the ones singled out for radio play because there's definitely more to The Aftermath than meets the eye.