Funeral for a Friend – Hours – 4/5
The Guilty Pleasures; Sgt. Ferret Furball Explains.
Modern Post-Hardcore. Stealing album titles from David Bowie. The Welsh. Can anyone honestly think of any good thing to say about any of these three things? Well imagine my surprise at the discovery of an album that not only accomplishes all these, but succeed in producing something beyond any expectations, and I have no difficulties in pointing out that this is one band I was wrong about.
I first heard them when a friend of mine started telling me they were going to be ‘the next big thing.’ He said the same thing about Trivium’s debut EP, BFMV’s debut EP, Spineshank, you get the picture. I hear a couple of tracks from their debut, and dump them in the pile of talentless mainstream crap. Enter an argument a few years later, a few newcomers to the genre try to pass them off as the best thing since sliced bread, and whilst that’s not even close to being true, it did help me learn a valuable lesson; don’t judge a band on past performance, as even the worst of the worst can surprise you.
One of the most notable things on this album is undoubtedly the production. Crisp and full, every instrument has been given precisely enough notice in the final mix to clearly to determine precisely what there are doing. The guitars are simplistic yet addictively well written, from the tapped riff in ‘Roses for the Dead,’ to the comparatively complex ‘Recovery,’ this isn’t an album to overuse chords and palm-muting, the riffs here are perhaps more readily compared to classic rock over their post-hardcore brethren, creating a depth of emotion in an almost post-grunge-like tone. Even the drums and succeed in producing emotion, from the slow yet ultimately thundering tone in ‘All the Rage’ to the gentle and tenderly performed ‘History,’ they lend a continual presence that often works with the music on a level all too often forgotten.
All this work could easily be unravelled by the vocals, being one who simply cannot stand that whining tone that seems to make the likes of ‘Avenged Sevenfold,’ and ‘My Chemical Romance,’ so popular, yet here he manages to tread a fine line that makes it enjoyable. Despite the generic topics, and relatively lacklustre emotion, he succeeds in adding a power and separate rhythm to the music, often acting as more of another layer of instrumentation than feeling like the focus. The lyrics too feel as though effort has gone into them, to not simply re-write old idea’s, with lines such as:
“With one hard look
I can tell
You’ve had enough of these useless sunsets
This could be a movie
This could be our final act
We don’t need these happy endings”
Brilliant the vocals and lyrics aren’t, but neither do they feel generic, and this holds true for the entire album. You won’t find anything revolutionary, or anything that goes against the grain with regards to the current scene, but you can expect to find here an example of how the genre should be written. I have firm hopes that one day this artist will find the missing element from the rest of their back catalogue, and not just be lost in time, forgotten as nothing more than another member of an undeserving musical era.
Highlights: All the Rage, Roses for the Dead, Recovery, Sonny
Note: This album was distributed on an independent label called “Ferret Music.” Coincidence?