Album Review by Mark Bayross
After little more than 18 months, Welsh five piece Funeral For A Friend have seen themselves go from wide-eyed Valley boys to the cover of Kerrang! and the magazine’s declaration of them as the “Hottest New Band On The Planet”. To say they are still spinning from the attention must be an understatement.
So, after much anticipation, sold out shows, a couple of critically acclaimed EPs and a Top 20-busting single, we have their Colin Richardson-produced debut album, the typically long-titled CASUALLY DRESSED & DEEP IN CONVERSATION.
Richardson has polished the band’s sound to within an inch of its life: guitars of molten lead, ribcage-busting drums, and Matt Davies’ vocal gymnastics have never sounded better, while the interplay between Kris Roberts’ and Darran Smith’s guitars lend each song a driving energy that explodes in fireworks when they come together on the choruses.
Davies’ lyrics cut deep, whether tramping across the familiar ground of broken relationships (ESCAPE ARTISTS NEVER DIE) or the lamenting the waste of young life on BEND YOUR ARMS TO LOOK LIKE WINGS – this is music played from the heart that reaches right into the very soul of your being.
The only real downside is that a number of the tracks have already been released before: RED IS THE NEW BLACK and ESCAPE ARTISTS NEVER DIE on the BETWEEN ORDER AND A MODEL and the FOUR WAYS TO SCREAM YOUR NAME EPs respectively, as well as singles SHE DROVE ME TO DAYTIME TELEVISION, BULLET THEORY and the reworked JUNEAU. Even more galling for fans, favourites such as THIS YEAR’S MOST OPEN HEARTBREAK and THE ART OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL are nowhere to be seen.
Still, this is hardly a major issue, considering the quality of the music here. In amongst the explosive riffing, the heartfelt vocals, and sheer melodic intensity of every single song, there is the excitement of a band that is still only just finding its voice. Emo, screamo, metal, rock, whatever…this is visceral, dynamic, life-affirming stuff and is not to be missed.