After The Fire (UK)

Signs Of Change Rapid 1978
Anyone who's been collecting Christian music awhile will have noticed that good 70's progressive rock is an ultra-scarce commodity. The essential lps can be counted on one, maybe two hands. Signs Of Change is most certainly one of them. After The Fire is probably more known for their three excellent UK-released techno-pop/new wave lps and the hit 'Der Kommissar', but for their premier custom project the original line-up of Peter Banks (keyboards), Nick Battle (bass), Andy Piercy (guitar), and Iva Twydell (drums) was hobnobbing with the synth-driven art rock sounds of groups like Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Though Banks' multi-faceted quirky synthesizer sounds are readily recognized and still the driving force behind their trademark sound, the context is entirely different. Most all the album's six or so (they meld together) songs extend into the 7-10 minute range with lengthy instrumental breaks. Lyrically it's more "overtly Christian" then their ensuing albums. It's fairly outstanding stuff, professionally done. KS

Laser Love CBS 1979
ATF gets the coveted mainstream deal, does a stylistic about face, and proceeds to record one of the best hi-energy techno- pop lps ever. This is the first of three such UK releases and only two of the ten tracks hare ended up on the group's 1982 US self-titled compilation. Pete "Memory" Banks leads the way with synthesizer creativity extraordinaire, which combined with the lead vocals of Andy Piercy, John Russell on guitar, and drummer I A J Twidell (aka Iva Twydell) translates into pure techno magic. Really catchy songs done in a fun refreshing style that's all their own. This cries out for a CD re-issue! KS

Photo and below info courtesy of Mike Edmunds

After the Fire was originally formed in England in 1972 by keyboard player Peter Banks. This lineup disbanded a few years later, upon which point Banks re-formed the band with guitarist Andy Piercy, bass player Nick Battle, and drummer Ivor Twiddell. The new lineup played the London music scene and eventually became a favorite at the Marquee on London's Wardour Street. In 1978, the band cut their first album, Signs of Change, on their own Rapid label. Their musical style at the time sounded like early Genesis and Greenslade. After increasing popularity, the band signed to CBS to record their second album, Laser Love, which marked a change in direction influenced by the recent emergence of new wave. Battle left and was replaced by guitarist John Russell, who was previously in Narnia along with Banks. Banks changed his name to "Memory" Banks to avoid confusion with the ex-Yes guitarist with the same name, while Piercy switched to bass. The single "One Rule for You," produced by Rupert Hine, went U.K. Top 40. The band's third album, 80F, was less successful. Twiddell was later replaced by Peter King (ex-Flys). 1981's Batteries Not Included was a more commercial effort, but success eluded the band until 1983 when they scored a U.S. Top Ten hit with "Der Kommissar." By this time only Piercy remained in the lineup. -- Mike Edmunds

Discography: Albums:
Ishmael & Andy (1973) (Piercy)
Narnia (1974) (Banks/Russell)
After the fire:
Signs of change (Rapid 1978)
Laser Love (1979)
80F (1980)
Batteries not included (1981)
Der Kommersar (1983)