Funeral For A Friend
28 January 2013
by Tomas Doyle
So why do you like music then? I mean really. I would hope you listen to it to hear something pure, some expression of emotion made tangible through will and instruments and collective as well as individual skill. You listen to it to hear a musician or musicians pulling something out of themselves that speaks of them, not tired trends or passing fads but something permanent and intrinsically more meaningful. Funeral For a Friend have been through the wringer and back in the last 10 years trying to get that balance right – from buzz-band to perceived also-rans, their career has been one of noticeable rise and fall as trends and fads have moved around and ultimately slipped from underneath them.
With Conduit then there must have been a temptation within the band to chase those fashions, to try and recapture a zeitgeist that they were undoubtedly part of around the time of their first full length Causally Dressed and Deep in Conversation. It is therefore doubly pleasing that Funeral have eschewed such a short-termist approach, instead making an album which is a stripped back return to a focus on fine songwriting and even finer execution. This record is nothing if not concise -that none of the album’s 11 tracks is over four minutes reeks of a band slashing the fat and leaving the lean muscle of what they do so well. The rewards are palpable, Conduit feeling full of an intent (something which the last two wandering messes masquerading as albums they turned out were almost entirely devoid of) and aggression that makes you wonder how anyone could ever doubt them.
Moreover, the brevity serves to let the big moments on the record shine through, ‘The Distance’ in particular is as good as anything the band have ever done, and while the approach now is not as technical as it was in the Funeral’s earlier incarnations it is more driving, infused with a punk grit, fuck you attitude and overwhelming honesty that ought to be admired by any young band looking to come through the ranks. Sure there are some dud moments here and there; Matt Davies-Kreye is guilty of a couple of questionable lyrical choices (the breakdown of High Castles is a exercise in cringe inducing build up) while the absence of former drummer Ryan Richard’s guttural roar robs the bands sound of a deal of power, but these brief bad tastes in the mouth are quickly washed away by a startling freshness and vitality of a band who are back to doing their own thing with no fucks given.
Watch the video to ‘The Distance’ by Funeral For A Friend:
We live in fickle times, where a couple of perceived missteps on record can leave a band struggling to retain a fanbase that they had to earn the hard way. It certainly seemed to have proved thus it for Funeral. Yet with Conduit they have crafted something of enormous musical worth and real integrity. Sure, their glory days are undoubtedly behind them and they will never again be the band on the hipster kids lips, riding that wave of an underground buzz ,but perversely it is the recognition of this fact that seems to have set them free to produce their best work for years. Not trendy, not cool, not edgy, not on message, but that’s not why you listen to music anyway, right?
Sounds like: BoySetsFire, a return to form.
Standout Tracks: The Distance, Best Friends And Hospital Beds.