With influences so widespread as splatter painter Jackson Pollock, short story ingénue Flannery O’Connor and Hungarian composer Bela Bartok, it’s no wonder After Edmund’s debut album, Hello (Slanted), feels so original.

Hailing from LaGrange, GA., the band, which named itself for the boy with a penchant for Turkish Delight in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, first came together in 2001. Several lineup changes and many rehearsals later, After Edmund was ultimately established in 2005 as singer/guitarist Mitch Parks, keyboardist Yates, bassist Matt McFadden, drummer Adam Stanley and guitarist Ben Hosey.

Equipped with classical training and individual tastes, the members’ collective music is near impossible to label. If pressed, they’d call it “British rock for Americans—bursting with flavor, lacking in irony,” according to Yates.

“Obviously, who and what we listen to influences our music,” says McFadden. “But we don’t aim to sound like anyone or any particular genre.”

The Brit-rock theme does suit the band, which is, at times, as quietly powerful as Coldplay and as punchy as Oasis. But there’s more to After Edmund than European-feeling flair. Songs like “Thank God” call The Killers to mind, while “Everyone” carries reminders of The Fray. With these varying moods, After Edmund has created a sound all its own, refreshingly diverse and accompanied by soul-searching, uplifting lyrics.

“As individuals we have no greater goal than to make God happy,” says Yates. “As a band, we want to have a career in music that serves God and offers quality music with an uplifting and relevant message. We want to connect with people both musically and personally and always point to Christ in the process.”

This they accomplish, and masterfully so.

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