Leeds Music Scene

Hours by Funeral for a Friend

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Reviewed on 30th June 2005.



By Funeral for a Friend

We all know about the "difficult second album" phenomenon. I mean, it's featured every year in the Great Rock and Roll Clichés Annual, next to such chestnuts as "we write songs for ourselves and if anyone else likes them it's a bonus" (he said whilst looking nervously over his shoulder at the suits from his record company) as well as the whole kafuffle of throwing a TV in through a hotel window. Sorry, I meant out of a hotel window. But you know what I mean.

Funeral for a Friend are the band with the quest to overcome that potentially problematic second release. Last year was a good one for the Welsh mavericks; Casually Deep in Conversation (their debut album) went gold and, despite the pissing awful name, struck a resonant chord with fans of the "new-wave-of-emo"/ Post-hardcore fraternity. However, the quintets highly stylised blend of polished emo-core also drew its detractors with accusations of watering down their sound (their early songs were more heavily based around screaming and contained more metal elements) and band-wagon jumping. Not everyone's cup of Bovril then, but endearingly popular nonetheless.

But anyway, enough of this gay banter and onto the actual album itself. "Hours" opens in pretty much the way you'd expect a band aiming to reinstate their position in the rock hierarchy would choose to open an album; with all guns blazing and some big fat-ass riffs for our aural acquaintance. "All the Rage" does all of the aforementioned nicely enough but doesn't haven't the required panache or depth to elevate it above anything more memorable than an interval of sub-maiden-esque guitar tomfoolery. Instead it's left to recent single "Racecar" to show how to really carry things off with aplomb - combing a driving power metal riff with a galloping double-bass drum pattern its catchiness more than makes up for the slight whiff of cheese that surrounds the middle eight break down. So far so good then.

However, the pace isn't quite maintained throughout. "Roses for the Dead" manages to carry the baton well enough with some belting guitar work and a strong chorus, but the likes of "Hospitality" and "Monsters" don't really cut the mustard. In fact they don't really do anything much at all, instead preferring to plod around in non-descript blandified emo dirge territory. At times like these Funeral for a Friend are unchallenging, dreary and wet - just what the major label A and R chaps might want, but unfortunately not what modern rock bands should be aiming to be.

Fortunately then "Hours" contains some more inspired moments to bring the rabbit back out of the hat. "History" is possibly the albums highlight; yes, it's a bona-fide lighters-in the-air moment that adheres to the rock-power-ballad rulebook, but it's a beautifully crafted hook-laden acoustic behemoth of a song. Likewise the melodic and rather haunting "Sonny" is a fitting end to the album.

"Hours" doesn't really take any major risks and pretty much sticks to the easy-on-the-ear emo template of the first album with some more technical guitar work thrown in. However, this is not to dismiss the albums achievements - some cracking songs are contained within that any fans of this genre would be well advised to check out. Unlikely to win the band many new fans, but at the same time unlikely to lose them any. Fair play to that sirs.



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On 25th December 2005 at 17:24 Anonymous 5138 wrote...

Not deliberately tryin' to banter here, but did you really study the album?

Their old album is "Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation" fair enough you couldn't remember the full name, but then you go on to say about their track "Racecar" It's "Streetcar" and it even says it to the left of your article, also, Funeral are not tryin' to be what most modern rock bands are, they are tryin' to be their own style, and it works, like in Absence not many bands have the courage to use such vocal styles, incase of failing their songs, but they pulled it off dramatically, and I admit, this is all opinions, but all I am doing, is stating mine.


On 25th December 2005 at 17:44 Anonymous 3667 wrote...

Guilty on both points that you raise about the song and album titles- thats poor journalism on my part really and theres no excuse for getting stuff like that wrong. Sorry!

I think the album as a whole is pretty good, but my major gripe was that they haven't really dramatically strayed away from the blueprint that they used for C.D.A.D.I.C. and I can see them staying with the "If it's not broke don't fix it" mantra.

I also think theres quite a bit of filler on the album and at times I do think they have the tendency to write bog-standard emo filler. That said though, "History" is one of my favourite releases of the past year, and their first two e.p.s are mint.

Merry xmas and take it easy


On 25th December 2005 at 18:18 Anonymous 5138 wrote...

Also, a bad comment by me, the song name is on the 'right' hand side of the article. I had to correct it.



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