Review Summary: Whether this album was released for nostalgia or as kind of an apology to the fans, the end result is the same... better sounding, heavier versions of the songs on their first two EPs that is well worth seeking out.
I used to like Funeral For a Friend back before they released Tales Don’t Tell Themselves
. They were an interesting band that mixed Hardcore and Metal with above-average musicianship for the style of music that they play, but then it all was flushed away. Tales
found them entering the over-saturated world of mainstream alternative rock, and releasing a safe and unoriginal offering. Fast-forward a brief period and now they are releasing this EP which features the third single off of the new album as well as live versions of the songs from their first two EP’s.
For some, this album is less about the music and more about what it potentially represents. After hearing about this album people hoped that maybe it meant that the band realized that they had gone too far with the last release and that this could almost be seen as an apology. I’d like to think that as well, but I’m sure that this is nothing more then a bit of nostalgia on the band’s part and nothing more. Whether it is an acknowledgement of a misstep or simple nostalgia, the question still remains: Is this worth getting, especially if you already have the two EPs in question? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’.
I’m not going to waste a lot of time on the opening track which is simply the song, “The Great Wide Open”, from the new album. For me, it is the best track on that album, but that’s not really saying much. The real meat of the album comes in the form of the live tracks, and they really are awesome. I was afraid that the band might possibly water these songs down to accommodate their new direction, but that isn’t the case at all. Actually, due to the much improved sound, and the nature of most live albums, these live versions are actually heavier and more energetic then the originals.
Within a few seconds of the second track, “Amsterdam Conversations”, it is readily apparent that the guitars have a much heavier and fuller sound then on either of the EPs (and even their first full-length). In addition, both vocalists have improved immensely since the days of these EPs. The clean singing is much less whiny and much more forceful, and the screaming is the most aggressive I’ve heard from this band, and is, in fact, used more then in the originals. That right there would be enough for most fans to pick this up, but there are more reasons.
The sound on this album could be flawless, but it wouldn’t make any difference if the playing was crap or sloppy, but the playing is tight. The leads and melodies are recreated effortlessly, and have more of an edge since they aren’t layered and not as thin as on the original recordings. Also, the drums seem to be more aggressive and make more use of the double bass then the originals, but I could be wrong here and just noticing it due to the improved sound quality. Another thing I like is that the vocalist doesn’t waste a lot of time with in-between song banter and the few things he does say are either slightly amusing or at least not cliché rock concert phrases, and it shows that the band were definitely having fun here.
My only complaint with this recording is that they do let the crowd sing the songs a little more often then I would like (which would be to not hear them sing at all). Seriously, if I wanted to hear drunken English people sing rock songs I’d watch Oasis on Youtube. It’s not a major complaint, but it’s the only one I have and I felt the need to whine about something. Other then that one minor thing, this album would be a great addition for anyone who likes anything other then the band’s latest album; even if you already own the originals. The sound is better, the vibe is heavy and fun and it may be the last quality release that these guys ever put out, and if those things aren’t enough to get you to check this out, then you probably never liked them to begin with.