Josh Reichmann is damn near impossible to define, and even harder to contain. He somersaults across genres like Sonic after a late night coke binge, but has always managed to maintain his fan base (not exactly easy when you consider he’s meandered from yelpy post punk to 80′s electronica).
Sonically, After Live takes cues from Bowie/Eno Berlin-era sounds, but Josh isn’t asking us to be heroes, even for one day. His surprisingly controlled Cohen-like croon and a sadness anchor the infectious synthy, sun-kissed melodies to the ground and a pseudo B-movie horror vibe keeps the record from getting heavy when Reichmann chooses to explore the darkness.
But what makes After Live work is that it feels like a musical release, not a simple greatest hits or “this is your life” backwards glance. Over the course of the 9 song, 35-minute LP, Reichmann reintroduces all of his musical incarnations but never remains faithful to one in particular. In fact, it’s when Josh mixes his strengths and influence that the record truly finds its stride and showcases a more modern sound.
Techno, pop, energetic syncopation and noisy tangents are nothing new for Reichmann, but the way he blends them on After Live show his creativity is far from tapped. “Burning Books” is a blast of pure sunshine, and “Empty Purse” might be my favorite post-Tangiers song he’s written, but there aren’t any low points on After Live. Considering how many records feel like superfluous padding for good idea, a front-to-back success shouldn’t be overlooked.