Review Summary: Funeral For A Friend’s major label debut is filled with soaring vocals, incredible guitar leads and tight rhythms. Despite a more radio friendly sound and a dominantly depressed feel, Hours is a consistent and enjoyable record.
In the early years of the new millennium, post hardcore was changing and new acts were getting their name and sound heard. Amongst bands including Thursday and Thrice was Funeral For A Friend. However, unlike those two names, Funeral For A Friend did not hail from dominate music scenes in New Jersey and Orange County. In fact, the group didn’t even come from the same country. The U.K. based quintet did share one thing in common with those names, they created a masterpiece of an album on a little indie label. Their 2003 Ferret released album Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation was recognized by many as a superbly delivered record and for good reason. Its perfect blend of melody and aggression, harsh vocals and clean singing, and varied song structures and sounds landed the group large amounts of popularity. They took risks and it paid off. Why mention all of this you ask" Well quite simply answered Hours
is NOT CDADIC part two to say the least.
That’s not to say that Hours
is bad, as it is far from it.
The change in sound is quite apparent through the lead single “Streetcar”
. Gone are the dual vocal styles and in their place is straightforward singing. Its main chug pattern and incredibly simple constructed verse certainly warranted mixed reactions from long time fans of the band, as did the drawn out dominantly bass and vocal bridge. While being effective, touching, and serving as a great build up for the final chorus, it is quite safe and predictable. However, the group still shows they are capable of creating some incredible guitar melodies, as shown throughout the solo during the chorus. It is a trademark of the group which continues into this record. The opening track in “All The Rage”
shows their more polished sound at one of its highest points. Despite the absence of screaming, the constant guitar riffing and at times unconventional rhythms of the drums certainly help the group to maintain an edgy sound. There certainly is a catchiness factor present as the lead over the chorus brings up a tough question, does one hum the guitar or vocal melody"
If not obvious by now, their guitarists know their way around the fret board.
Along with that, they know how to make their riffs work in their respective songs. The six stringers Darran and Kris just have a natural ability to create memorable riffs and progressions along with a talent of knowing when to modify or switch the lead. A later track “Recovery”
opens with one of the best riffs on the record and constantly switches progressions and riffs only if doing so very subtly. Its lead over the chorus is perfectly crafted and really adds depth to the track. Lyrically it has some of the best lines on the record “This tree is dead and cold/This house is not a home/Help me now I’m dying here alone”
. While certainly not a cheery song it is memorable and terrifically constructed. Its follower “The End of Nothing”
opens with a brief harmonized riff before going through a few bars of a chug pattern. Once more lead work is apparent throughout almost the entire track. Some screaming is present and it really accents the later half of the verses. However, it is the constantly switching guitar work that really steals the cake here. The melodies and riffs are just incredible throughout as are the harmonies used.
Don’t worry the other two members of the band don’t go completely unnoticed.
While not directly in the spotlight, drums and bass do not fully take the backseat. “Monsters”
opens up with a drum intro and despite not showing anything flashy, it really lays down a solid foundation for the rest of the song to build upon. Drums carry a fairly simple beat throughout as it is quite appropriate for the song. However, when fitting some mean fills are dished out as the tom snare shuffles are done smoothly. That statement practically sums up drums on the record, as Ryan performs his work properly. With the constant use of lead guitar, drums are not in the spotlight. He recognizes this and performs accordingly without sounding like a metronome. Bass wise things follow a similar pattern as it branches out when appropriate. There are several smooth lines during the chorus of “Streetcar”
which intertwine with the lead work perfectly. In other tracks such as “Recovery”
Gareth holds up the low end quite well and keeps things tight. The rhythm section delivers an ideal performance for the main sound of the group.
Thankfully monotony never reaches a very high level sound wise.
The entire record is not all guitar and vocal focused, fast tempo tracks. The third single “History”
is slow, emotional, and the closest thing to aballad found on the record. Despite the diverse sound, guitars still create some enjoyable clean melodies and progressions. With a softer sound there is certainly more room for bass to use and it takes advantage of it. “History”
certainly is a stand out track on the record and is perfectly placed in the mix. Another new sound comes out in the closing track “Sonny”
. A sample beat opens the track as vocal come atop of it. The clean guitar and soft vocals keep things at a mellow pace for the first two minutes before a slight crescendo comes in. It is a respectively successful epic ending as it does not overdo its attempted affect as it ends the record in an unpredictable fashion.
There certainly is a lot to enjoy about Hours
. Musically things are wonderfully delivered as Kris and Darren constantly create memorable riffs and leads. Vocal melodies and lyrics are top notch and are very easy to enjoy. The rhythm portion of the record is ideal as things are kept tight and both members branch out when appropriate. There is a very fluent flow to the record and they mix up their sound enough to keep things interesting. Despite all of this there are a few problems. The first comes in with the overall atmosphere. While the sound is mixed up, the themes of lost love and depression do become quite weighty. They are delivered superbly both vocally and lyrically but it can be a lot to take in all at once. As a result, the record can unfortunately be difficult listen for one sitting. Other then that, Hours
warrants no other complaints and is an enjoyable major label debut from Funeral For A Friend. Despite being a step down in terms of quality from their previous record, there is still plenty of enjoyment found in Hours
Funeral For A Friend is…
Gareth Davies - Bass Guitar & Vocals
Matthew Davies – Vocals
Ryan Richards – Drums
Kris Coombs-Roberts - Guitar
Darran Smith - Guitar
Final Rating: 3.5/5