Funeral for a Friend - Hours
There has been a lot of contenders for most anticipated album this year; Nine Inch Nails, Team Sleep, Bloc Party… but there’s no doubting that Funeral for a Friend’s second full album has been one of the biggest releases for a lot of people. After all, not many bands on their debut album can go gold, headline second stage of Reading and Leeds and support Iron Maiden across Europe.
So it’s a shame that such a highly anticipated, promoted and produced album is a bit of a disappointment. They may have a huge fan base, and are one our only bands who have managed to break America (or start to), but this album is not all that. You can feel both sympathetic and annoyed at this band, sympathetic because they desperately want to shake off the “Emo” labels etc, but at the same time, make music that justifies it. Although this album is a lot more than ‘Casually Dressed…’ more variety, moved away from the constant Maiden riffs, there isn’t an awful lot to get with this album.
This all said the lead single from this album, ‘Streetcar’ is amazing. It takes a while to get, but the chugging riffs, luscious vocals and a generally moving song, ok so the Americanism sound and English voices are a bit of juxtaposition, but that doesn’t take away how good the song is. ‘The End of Nothing’ is another commendable track, as it uses violent, blast-beats, black metal riffs and the only screaming on the whole album.
Evidence enough then that they have failed to shake off the “Emo” tags that haunt them. This is basically all Matt Davies pouring his heart out. This isn’t a problem, since he does it very well, however, when surrounded by fairly bland songs that have all been heard before. The band’s disastrous attempts to write a rock ballad of some sort, ‘Drive’ sounds as plain as Audioslave and is basically the same sounds, where as “History” is just an awful attempt at making a sing-along while concentrating on little else.
It seems a real missed chance that one of the potentially best bands around right now has failed to do anything really innovating. They have it in their power to come up with something really special, you can guess that from the amount of fans, both casual and loyal, that they are doing some things right. But in such a competitive demand for really exciting bands, it’s clear that they’ve missed out on a huge market considering the standards of this album.
It’s not all bad news though. Although not one of the best songs on this album, finale “Sonny” sheds a little hope of things to come, as it is a stripped down track, using drum machines, and sounds like nine inch nails at their most frail. The fact that they have bothered to do something a bit different is promising, but since it’s not quite yet happening for them, this album remains disappointing. It’s annoying since its one of those albums that cheats you out of liking it. Every once and a while one begins to think “this is getting boring” a really good song will come out of nowhere and you won’t know what’ll hit you. It’s not enough though, and it will be marked down as, although most anticipated, one of the disappointments of 2005.
EDIT: I took the freedom to edit this review a bit, so it's easier to read. Linebreaks and stuff, nothing else :) - Damrod