Album Review by Mark Bayross
So at last it’s here, the long-awaited second album from Funeral For A Friend, and given the fact that they’ve finally made it onto TOP OF THE POPS TV show it would seem that one of the biggest underground bands in the country is finally getting the recognition they deserve. Of course, this has been building for a while now, having had three singles in the Top 20 already, headlined the second stage at Reading and Leeds and gone gold in the UK with their debut album CASUALLY DRESSED AND DEEP IN CONVERSATION.
But HOURS moves things up a notch or two. Opener ALL THE RAGE provides a bridge between this album and its predecessor – short, punchy and catchy – but it is followed by recent single STREETCAR, and the development is clear. A song that somehow sounds even better every time you hear it – the break and race to the finish will make your hairs stand on end.
ROSES FOR THE DEAD then provides an instant hands-in-the-air anthem before possibly one of the stand-out tracks arrives in the shape of HOSPITALITY, fusing machine gun guitars to Matt Davies’ soaring chorus. Ballad moments are provided by DRIVE and the suspiciously MTV-friendly HISTORY, while those of you who wonder where the metal went by this point can rest easy when they get to RECOVERY and the furious THE END OF NOTHING, whose guitars hint that FFAF were paying attention when they supported Iron Maiden last year.
Producer Terry Date (Pantera, Deftones, Soundgarden) has polished the Funeral sound into a precision-tooled assault but brimming with melody – every instrument sounds like it’s conducting electricity while Davies has never been in better voice – and, while some may argue that this has made FFAF “more pop”, the quality of the songwriting deserves this clarity of production.
It is shame that Ryan Richards’ death metal screaming only reappears on one song (THE END OF NOTHING) but Funeral For A Friend are a band in evolution. The themes have changed from boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl to subjects like alcoholism, domestic abuse and friends dying while the inclusion of touches like electronic beats on the closing SONNY hint that there is plenty more to come from this exciting young band.