Funeral for a Friend
Memory and Humanity


3.5
great

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
October 13th, 2008 | 72 replies | 23,702 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A great return to form after the lacklustre Tales Don't Tell Themselves.

As much as I try to give bands second chances after poor records, I couldn't help but feel sceptical towards Funeral For a Friend's latest album, Memory and Humanity. After all, it's been years since the band has released an album that has come out and impressed me right away – though recently I haven come to enjoy Hours. 2007's Tales Don't Tell Themselves was one of the most disappointing albums of the year, and given that it's hardly been a year since that hit stores, you'll have to forgive me for worrying that Memory and Humanity would sound nothing more than a rushed variant of the same record.

So I was pleasantly surprised after actually hearing the album. Memory and Humanity almost totally disregards its predecessor's drivel, and instead establishes itself as the true successor to Hours. For the most part, it's a far cry from Funeral For a Friend's post-hardcore roots, though "Ghosts" and "You Can't See the Forest For the Wolves" are the closest the band gets to Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation. After a deceptively soft acoustic segment opens the latter, guitarists Kris Coombs-Roberts and Darran Smith launch into the most aggressive riff heard in a Funeral For a Friend song in nearly five years. The song isn't as technical as a "10:45 Amsterdam Conversations" or "Escape Artists Never Die", and is centred around a tight rhythm section rather than intricate guitar harmonies. Matt Davies contributes to the downcast, conflicted atmosphere with his melodic singing style and high pitched shouts of "Television tells me one thing / brain tells me something else" and "Give me something to believe!" The only real constant in Funeral For a Friend's sound, Davies can certainly carry a tune, and while charges of whininess have been levied against him in the past, he manages to avoid the trite clichés that hinder many of his contemporaries.

Oddly enough, especially for a band named Funeral For a Friend, the majority of the remainder of Memory and Humanity is an uplifting endeavour. Single "Kicking and Screaming" is a retrospective appraisal of growing up, as well as life in general. Davies croons "We all go out like we came in / kicking and screaming", serving as the backdrop to the sentimental melodies that intertwine themselves throughout the song, particularly its soaring chorus. It isn't a highlight, but it’s a catchy, driving piece and an all around fun listen all the same. Similarly introspective is "Maybe I Am?". Davies' soul-searching makes for a darker, more serious listen; however, it retains a sense of hope and optimism through its melodious song structure. The song utilizes its (mostly) soft/hard dynamics to the fullest; the verses' self questioning lyrics are accentuated by jangling guitars and brief blasts of distortion, while the confidence exuded during the chorus is complimented by upbeat, bombastic riff schemes. To put it simply, "Maybe I Am?" is not only one of the most memorable songs on Memory and Humanity, but one of the best songs the band has recorded in some time.

In "You Can't See the Forest For the Wolves", Funeral For a Friend asks for "something that is real" and after the lacklustre Tales Don't Tell Themselves, it essentially sums up Memory and Humanity in a nutshell. The band has previously commented on how being free from major label constraints helped ease the writing process along, and the results speak for themselves. Memory and Humanity is the most organic, free flowing record they've released since Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversations. It isn't without its weaker moments; "Building" is a neat little ballad, but could have been fleshed out a little more, and "Beneath the Burning Tree" is extremely cringe worthy, save for the chorus, which isn't good enough to warrant listening to the rest of the song. Fortunately, anthemic cuts like "Someday the Fire" and the heavier "Waterfront Dance Club" get things back on track almost immediately, with little momentum lost. Overall, Memory and Humanity is a great return to form for the Welsh rock band, and though it doesn't top Casually Dressed, fans of the band should definitely be pleased.



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user ratings (339)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Londonskylines (2)
“Memory & Humanity” is an exercise in indifference...

jermainemotown (4)
FFAF turn off the autopilot, releasing an album that answers to no one and follows the mantra; less ...

Davey Boy STAFF (3.5)
Welsh quintet back-track their sound and deliver a grower of an album that will reward the patient, ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
marksellsuswallets
October 13th 2008



4848 Comments


I was thinking about reviewing this but no need...this is pretty much what I think...(you missed an italic thingy though)

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2008



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great to hear that they have delivered another solid album. Although, I actually liked 'Tales Don't Tell Themselves' personally. Still, 'Hours' was their best combination of work & this sounds similar in style to that album than anything else they have made.
Good review Mike & great to see you back after a 4 week absence.

AmericnZero02
October 14th 2008



3337 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. It might be a little on the short side though. It feels like most of this is describing what the record sounds like (which you did a great job of) and very little of it explaining why it deserves a 3.5. The last few sentences starting with the one describing "Building" seem to lack some support behind your opinions of the songs. This Message Edited On 10.13.08

AtavanHalen
October 14th 2008



17927 Comments


People have given this a 5 already?

taylormemer
October 14th 2008



4916 Comments


I thought you were going to?

rasputin
October 14th 2008



14538 Comments


haha

defjaw83
October 14th 2008



1765 Comments


I'll be pleased if this is a return to form as i thoought the last album was slightly pants!

Nice review, will definitely check this out

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2008



17920 Comments


*skeptical

ToWhatEnd
October 14th 2008



3172 Comments


Need to give this a full listen still but I like what I've heard. Do you hail from Canada Mike?

Mikesn
Emeritus
October 14th 2008



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

you missed an italic thingy though)
got it
Good review Mike & great to see you back after a 4 week absence.
Thanks...school sucks right now. I've had all these reports and presentations due all at the same time over the past few weeks. D:
Good review. It might be a little on the short side though. It feels like most of this is describing what the record sounds like (which you did a great job of) and very little of it explaining why it deserves a 3.5. The last few sentences starting with the one describing "Building" seem to lack some support behind your opinions of the songs.
I'm pretty sure this was my longest review in awhile lol...but I'll try to edit something in when I have time.
I'll be pleased if this is a return to form as i thoought the last album was slightly pants!
you will be pleased then!
*skeptical
see i had this written down too wtf
Do you hail from Canada Mike?
yes, why?

Bleak123
October 14th 2008



1902 Comments


Good review, i really haven't liked any of this bands stuff in the past so probably won't be checking this out.This Message Edited On 10.14.08

taylormemer
October 14th 2008



4916 Comments


It might be a little on the short side though.

Nice one. You are now officially on my "to kill list".

cvlts
October 14th 2008



8954 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

loved Hours and Casually Dressed... hated Tales Dont Tell Themselves... left a horrible taste in my mouth (of sellout)... its gonna take me awhile to get into them again, but with this review ill definately get on it =]]

scalara
October 14th 2008



71 Comments


sweet album art

AmericnZero02
October 14th 2008



3337 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice one. You are now officially on my "to kill list".


Considering the entire first paragraph as well as some of the final paragraph are spent talking about their previous records, then yeah, I'd say the actual review portion of this is a bit short.

brandtweathers
October 14th 2008



2007 Comments


this cover looks so very lame.
similar to coheed and about as annoyingly simple

Cesar
October 14th 2008



2732 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm between a 3 or 3.5, leaning towards a 3. I don't know what I was thinking when I gave their last album a 4, its so bad.

lunchforthesky
October 14th 2008



1039 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

not quite as bad as TDTT. Still very poor.

McP3000
October 14th 2008



3941 Comments


what a lame album cover

ToWhatEnd
October 14th 2008



3172 Comments


I think I remember seeing your profile picture as some Canadian hockey team and your spelling of centre and lacklustre just hinted at it. I'm actually going to Montreal to see a hockey game at The Forum in January which I'm really excited about. The Capitals playing on HNIC will be intense. What part are you from?



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