In 2000, a four-member band released their debut album, “I Wish We All Could Win.”
Since then, The Afters have released six full-length studio albums.
Their latest, “Fear No More,” from Fair Trade Music and Provident Records, is a celebration of joy, hope and expectation.
Joshua Havens (lead vocals, keys and guitars) and Matt Fuqua (vocals, guitars) formed The Afters as Blisse in 1999. After a personnel change, the band now also includes Jordan Mohilowski (drums) and Dan Ostebo (bass guitar). The group’s latest project features 10 well-crafted tunes that contain the pop/rock style fans love, as well as the emotional impact listeners have come to expect.
“Well Done” was released as a radio single prior to the album’s release. “Fear No More” is the latest song from this project. Havens speaks to the origins of this song: “Jordan shared that he was dealing with anxiety and panic attacks. We were just talking about some of our struggles and anxiety is something that I've struggled with for a lot of my life. It was the first time I had shared that with anybody.”
Mohilowski was comforted to learn that someone he was close to could relate to him. He started calling Havens when his anxiety was building.
“I tend to avoid sharing pain sometimes,” says Havens. “I realized that in sharing something I was holding inside, it opened up a healing conversation. It felt really good to get it out there and encourage each other. I remember us saying, ‘Hey, let's write a song that's an anthem against anxiety. We wanted to write words that we could sing over our lives.
“For this album, we wanted to write a song that would be words that we could sing over our struggles.”
"I Will Fear No More" is an anthem against anxiety. It declares, “I will not give in to fear.” It proclaims our trust in God: “You're my courage when I worry In the dead of night/ You're my strength 'cause I'm not strong enough To win this fight/ You are greater than the battle raging in my mind/ I will trust you, Lord/ I will fear no more.’
Other titles on “Fear No More” include the pop tune “What Home Feels Like”, the joyous celebration of God’s power in “Lightning” and the quiet ballad “Wait,” that reflects on the joys of Heaven to come: “I can hardly wait.”
“It All Starts Now” is a song of barely contained exuberance, reflecting on how our journey of faith starts now, and we are always moving forward in God’s strength.
For the most part, “Fear No More” is a very accessible project for listeners. The Afters have provided songs that will truly encourage and build up their audience while also bringing great joy.
Tracey Evison, a musician and educator on P.E.I., writes this column for The Guardian every second Saturday. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.